When I was little, I remember these humgunous grapefruit-looking things just sitting around the house at this time of year. I’m not fond of grapefruits. Their sour taste lands them one step below the much dreaded bell pepper which I dislike even more.
I don’t recall how or why, but I must have given pomelos a try at some point, because I sure like them now. They don’t have the bitterness of a grapefruit, they’re way sweeter. I can totally eat them – it’s like a sweet, very mild version of grapefruit.
Largest of the citrus fruits, pomelos are about the size of a small watermelon. Called boo look in Cantonese, they’re also known as Chinese grapefruit and are popular for Chinese New Year as it symbolizes abundance.
In season from mid-January to mid-February, I’ve spotted pomelos at farmer markets, Costco, Whole Foods and Asian supermarkets, about two fifty to three bucks for one. The color is a light green and turns yellow as it ripens. You know it’s ready to eat when you can smell its floral scent from a mile away.
To eat, cut off a bit of the top and then make vertical cuts going into the extra thick skin with a sharp knife (be careful not to actually cut into the flesh). I find it easier turning the pomelo upside-down and going from the bottom to the top. Pull the sliced peel away from the flesh.
Pull the fruit in half to make it easier to handle. The membrane and pith is very thick and very bitter. Do not eat any of that, just pull it all off to reveal the coral pink fruit segment. I like to eat mine cold so after peeling off the outer skin, I stick it in the fridge to chill for a refreshing, sweet treat. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, which is tomorrow, February 3rd.
Best wishes for health, wealth and happiness in the Year of the Rabbit.
Happy Chinese New Year!