Pomelo, a renowned fruit native to Southeast Asia is tangy, sweet, slightly bitter and reminiscent of a grapefruit. With colors ranging from yellow to pink, the inside of the pomelo is always a surprise. However, this has led many to wonder, what are the different pomelo varieties available and which one is the sweetest?
What are the different pomelo varieties?
The most popularly grown and consumed pomelo varieties include African Shaddock, Red Shaddock and Tahitian. These three non-hybrid varieties are true pomelos, offering the classic sweet, sour and tangy bite everyone loves. Each variety has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest. Let’s take a deeper dive into the world of pomelos.
Each of the three non-hybrid varieties referenced above have distinct attributes.
African Shaddock– This variety is pear-shaped with a mild and pleasant flavor. It is not overly acidic or bitter as other varieties tend to be. The texture of African Shaddock is chewy and tougher than others. It is ideal for use in salads and everyday snaking.
Red Shaddock– Originating from Africa as well, the Red Shaddock has a deep, dark red flesh with an outstanding flavor, unlike any other pomelo variety. The flavor combination is mildly acidic with a sweet and pleasant aftertaste. The ruby-colored fruit is a favorite for many citrus enthusiasts. The rind is effortless to peel, smooth and yellow in color.
Tahitian– With a striking yellow rind and rich yellow flesh, this pomelo may look like a lemon, but does not taste like one. With an incredibly sweet flavor profile, Tahitian is by far one of the best tasting varieties, if not the best. While this pomelo often has many seeds inside, it produces juicy and delectable fruit.
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What are pomelo hybrids?
Pomelo hybrids are extremely common, as with any other fruit. Controlled speciation (hybridizing) of fruit has been taking place for centuries. The result is new breeds of delicious fruit to explore, and the process uses plant propagation.
Hybridizing can enhance the original fruit’s flavor, texture and appearance. Almost every well-known fruit today has been hybridized to some extent. This includes bananas, apples, grapes, cherries and of course- pomelos. The following pomelo hybrids are popular all around the globe and have their own unmistakable flavor.
Melogold– The Melogold hybrid was created from a white grapefruit and a Siamese Sweet pomelo. When it comes to flavor, Melogold does not carry a strong grapefruit pungency. The sweet pomelo flavors take over the Melogold and make it easily palatable.
In terms of availability, Melogold quickly matures, making it ideal for early harvest. Furthermore, if left on the tree, Melogold will intensify in sweetness until picked. Unlike other varieties, Melogold will not fall out of the tree until it is truly 100% ripe.
Chandler– The Chandler hybrid was formed out of a Siamese Pink pomelo and a Siamese Sweet pomelo. Chandlers are known for being round in shape and large. The rind color ranges from yellow to yellow-pink. Inside, the flesh is pink/ dark pink. Interestingly, the pulp of a Chandler pomelo can have different flavors all within the same fruit.
Oroblanco– Related to Melogold, Oroblanco is a cross between white grapefruit and Siamese Sweet. Oroblanco is even sweeter than its sibling. The consistency is enhanced compared to Melogold. Oroblanco ripens with extra sweetness during the summer and is typically smaller than most pomelos. The size of an Oroblanco is very similar to a grapefruit/ large orange.
Cocktail Pomelo– This pomelo is a hybrid of mandarin orange and Siamese Sweet. It develops quickly, making it suitable for California’s colder climates. The flesh is dripping with juice and full of seeds. It’s a great snack to have on hand with orange, pomelo, and grapefruit flavors in one.
Valentine Pomelo– This pomelo is one of the newest hybrids created to date (2009). It is a cross between three favorite citruses: Siamese Sweet, blood orange and mandarin orange.
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This triple threat takes center stage as it incorporates many different textures, flavors and aromas into a single pomelo. In fact, the Valentine Pomelo earned its title because it ripens around Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and resembles the shape of a heart when cut in half.
I hope this article showed you that there are many types of pomelo and they have different tastes and sweetness levels. Of course, in order to choose the sweetest one, you will have to pick the one that is ripe and ready to eat.