There are certain fruits that will always be associated with one’s childhood. Mulberries in spring, mangoes and jamun in summer, oranges in winter but just when the heat shows some signs of leaving, the first pomelos make their appearance. The other day I got one fruit from my regular vendor who, bless her, usually brings (mostly) foraged vegetables right to my doorstep. The usual ware comprises vegetable fern, bamboo shoots, water spinach, banana flowers, colocasia and different kinds of gourds. I couldn’t resist buying the pomelo as it was small in size and she assured me it was pink and sweet. It certainly turned out to be one of the sweetest that I have eaten…
In our region, the pomelo tree is filled with fragrant creamy flowers in March. The picture below shows pictures of the fruits taken in December (green) and January (ripening). These pictures were taken in my mother’s garden a few years ago.
I really haven’t tried pomelo in recipes. I love the juice but we have it mostly in this form by throwing in a few things and it’s ready! It tastes best in the afternoon (I think) with a dash of sweetness, a drizzle of oil and the freshness of mint.
The pomelo/Citrus maxima is also known by other names such as Chinese grapefruit and shaddock. It’s the largest citrus fruit in the world. The rind is thick and the flesh inside can be cream-coloured or pink. There are also darker and lighter variations of pink. Some tend to be tart and some are on the sweeter side.
The pomelo I used will serve 4.
A bunch of mint
A dash of salt
Sugar to taste
2 chopped green chillies, some of the seeds can be discarded
A drizzle of mustard oil (optional)
Wash the fruit and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Make vertical incisions on the rind all across. It’s like cutting a pumpkin except that you don’t cut through the flesh.
Remove the segmented portions of the rind by peeling them off. Remove some of the pith and you will see the segments.
Remove them the way you would remove orange segments.
Peel off the covering and remove all white pithy bits. Discard the seeds and remove/transfer the pink flesh to a bowl.
Add all the other ingredients, drizzle with the oil (if using) and serve immediately.
This is a most refreshing snack particularly if the fruit is naturally sweet.
This salad tastes best when it’s fresh. Pomelo has the tendency to get a little bitter if it’s stale.