April 13, 2011

The Pomelo - Love comes in Shades of Pink....

This post is dedicated to my son who loves the pink pomelo but the fruit is so illusive/elusive that we could not find it in the two months he was at home.We were told several times by the vendor during the Chinese New Year that the fruit we bought we guaranteed pink...but we found out later (after taking off the white rind we had been ripped off again at RM 7 per kg).

 And all of a sudden last week after doing some voluntary work I was rewarded with a big fruit. The nice couple did not know that they had given me a real treasure - a pink pomelo!! They just said "Hope the fruit is still good!! Take it!!" When I got home it was a marvellously pink and juicy fruit...God is indeed provident and as I ate the fruit I really missed all my children.

Also BTW we Foochows believe that the pink pomelo can get rid of intestinal worms in young children.


How do you get these beautiful segments of a pink pomelo displayed in this way? It is a very intricate procedure actually. Patience is the key word.

Segments of pink pomelo on a plain white platter is a delightful Sarawakian after dinner fruit dessert.



First you have to cut into the thick skin...make about seven  or eight slits.



Go around the skin and scour out the fruit....at the crown and then pull out the outer skin. This is quite an intricate skill...




The fruit segments can slowly be peeled





The whole fruit is taken out of the skin and peeled segment by segment. Each segment is then skinned..
This is how you cut into a pomelo Chinese style.








This is a close up of each segment..

Pomelos (or pow or yiu) resemble grapefruit, but they are a species in their own right and are an ancestor of the grapefruit, and not a hybrid.


Our favourite fruit has actually a rather long and romantic history.
A sea captain Shaddock brought brought them from Polynesia to the West Indies in the mid 17th century. They still grow wild in the region of Malaysia and Indonesia, where they probably originated. There is evidence that the pomelo grew in China as early as 100 BCE and spread westwards in the wake of other, more prized, citrus fruits. Arabs took it to Spain, where it was cultivated on a small scale. The European climate is too cool for it to grow successfully. The tree grows to between twenty and forty feet, producing fuzzy leaves like those of the orange tree and large white flowers. The large, pear-shaped fruit has lemon-yellow skin and pale white or red flesh. It is much larger than grapefruit, with thick yellow dimpled skin, and can measure up to a foot in diameter; although much of its bulk is the thick, loose skin.


 It was in the West Indies that the fruit was developed into a thinner-skinned and juicier specimen. Whether this was the result of mutation or of hybridization is still in doubt. The flesh is pinkish-yellow and easily separates into segments, but the flavour is sharp and often needs a little sweetening to make it palatable.  It is common for the pomelo to have sixteen to eighteen segments, much more than the grapefruit's twelve. Pomelos sold today are more likely to be a smaller, rounder, and smoother-skinned cross between the original pomelo or shaddock and grapefruit.
The origin of the name can be traced back to the Malay word "pumpulmas", which became the Dutch word "pompelmoes", which then, somehow was transformed into the English "pomelo" (sometimes spelled pummelo). One old English nickname, closer to the Dutch, was pimplenose. Another nickname "Adam's apple" was given in 1187 by a pilgrim to "Palestine", who encountered the fruit with the "marks of Adam's teeth plainly seen" in the rind. This particular variety with these indentations is mentioned by later writers as well. Pomelos range in size from that of a large grapefruit to basketball size and can weigh over twenty pounds, but most are the size of a small canteloupe. The pomelo can be grouped into three types according to area of development: Thai, Chinese, and Indonesian. The Thai group is variable in shape and usually smaller in size than the others, although it is generally regarded as being of a higher quality. 


The Chinese group contains a large number of fruits, including giant oblate ones with thick rinds but plenty of juice. The Indonesian group is also extremely varied, but does tend to be larger and rounder than the others. Superior pomelos grow in warm tropical regions, particularly in sheltered areas near the sea; but it is also hearty enough to withstand brackish water and poor drainage. 


Pomelo growers in Southeast Asia are primarily of Chinese ancestry who like swampy land to dredge and then dig canals. These canals act as both drainage systems and transportation routes. The pomelos are cultivated in raised beds and in soil that has already produced such quick crops as sugarcane, bananas, or peanuts. This is v ery true in the Rajang Valley and we Foochows have been having this method of agriculture since 1901..making plants grow in the peat swamps!!



Eating the pomelo after a meal is now considered quite a family ritual. Try doing it as a family activity!! My grandfather used to say that the pomelo is a very good family fruit because every one can get a big segment. By the way always eat a pomelo three or four days after it has been plucked to allow the fruit to mature truly in its skin!!


In better Foochow restaurants peeled pomelo segments is part of the complimentary fruit platter. In the olden days the fruit was a welcoming side dish.


Pomelos cannot be eaten with a spoon like grapefrui. They are best peeled with all the pith and thick white membrane removed. To remove the rind requires a knife, but the best way is to make four or five cuts lengthwise in the rind without cutting into the flesh, then pull away these sections and peel from there.
Three pommelo-grapefruit crosses are the Oroblanco, Melogold, and Pomelit. All are super sweet. The pomelit was developed by the Israelis as a new export fruit. The ripe fruit has a green to greenish-yellow skin, with a slight cone-shaped top like a pomelo; but it has the size of a large grapefruit. The green skin does not mean it is unripe. Many of the tropical citrus fruits have green skins. The fibers and skin over the segments are tough like that of a pomelo, but the flesh is sweeter than a grapefruit and juicier than a pomelo. Pomelits are best eaten raw.
Some varieties of pomelo include:
Chandler is the most common, having a deliciously sweet pink flesh and some seeds.

9 comments:

sintaicharles said...

Great blog!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Charles..thanks. Do you often buy pomelo? Do you know how to choose?

thanks for visiting.

Ann said...

I prefer eating it the old fashion way, instead of jazzing it up to become a salad.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
The Thais love it in their salads. We Foochows always eat it in segments. The smaller species called Mo Mo Pow from Sibu is so good I can even eat two at a time.....tui siak!! hahahahaha

Anonymous said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing....

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