Pomelo – Citrus Maxima

After embarking on writing about various interesting fruits heralded by my blog on the Tender Palmyra Fruit – Borassus Flabellifer , we will move onto another cannon ball like gentle giant, which most Indians are familiar with.

The pomelo is a commonly found fruit in India and is quite a fascinating one which manages to find takers despite it tart and bitter sweet flesh.

The Pomelo – 

The pomelo or Citrus Maxima or Citrus Grandis as it is botanically known, belongs to the Rutaceae family and is the largest among its citrus cousins (as the maxima/grandis suggest).

It is at times wrongly referred to as a grapefruit, which is also another member of the citrus family, its confusing name notwithstanding. However, they do taste rather similar, though the grapefruit has a far more intense bitter flavor. Some some varieties of pomelos are actually quite pleasantly sweetish, with a relatively mildly tartness and bitterness.

The pomelo is like a large canon ball with a light yellow or greenish skin and a thick rind with substantial pith. The fruit is ensconced within, in the form of segments called carpels which are made up of juicy vesicles similar to those of all citrus fruits.

There are many varieties of Pomelos but I have had access to only 2 of them, the ones with lemon yellow flesh and the ones with a reddish flesh. The taste varies according to several factors but from my personal experience, the yellow ones are more tart than the red.

Here in Bangalore, India where I live, we are proud to have the Devanahalli pomelo which has the GI (Geographical Indication) tag and has a great demand in the market. It is locally known as Chakotha which is as cute as its French name Pamplemousse, a word that has intrigued me ever since I read a cookbook which had spelled it as PumpleMoses 😀 and which always brings to mind a young pimply Moses. My Tamilian in laws call it Pamplimaas.

Health benefits of Pomelos – 

Well apart from all the entertainment that its name provides, Pomelos are also highly nutritious fruits. As with most citrus fruits, they are a good source of Vitamin C apart from other vitamins and minerals. They are rich in fibre and antioxidants and are said to be good for heart health and to control diabetes.

However, they also contain certain chemicals that are said to significantly interfere with blood pressure and cholesterol medications and hence should be completely avoided by people who are on these medicines.

How to eat a Pomelo –

Pomelos are processed like most other citrus fruits by peeling off the thick outer skin and pith, extracting the juicy vesicles from the carpels, discarding the inner pith and then eating the flesh directly or adding it in various preparations right from salads, juices, desserts, pickles etc.


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