The first time I ever had a pomelo I was a teenager visiting my sister in Israel. Back then you didn’t see polemo in stores like you do today. My first thought was: Why is that grapefruit so big?
My second thought when I was told what it was: How do you eat a pomelo?
Years later (many I will say!), pomelos are now one of my favorite fruits. Here’s what a pomelo is, how to eat it, and why you must get your hands on them!
Pomelo vs grapefruit, what’s the difference?
Before we dive into how to cut and eat a pomelo, let’s chat about what a pomelo fruit actually is.
- Like a grapefruit, a pomelo is part of the citrus family (like lemon, orange, and lime)
- The health benefits of pomelos include being excellent sources of Potassium, Riboflavin, and Vitamin C
- Grapefruit and pomelo taste similar but pomelo tends to be milder and has less sourness or tang
- You eat them differently (see below)
How do you know if a pomelo is ripe?
Before you attack that large fruit sitting in front of you, how the heck do you know if a pomelo is ripe? Good questions. Pomelo can range in color from greenish to yellow. So how do you know?
Unlike pineapples and avocados, when you purchase a pomelo in the store it’s usually going to be ripe and ready to eat. But if you’re still unsure. Below are a few tips.
- Choose pomelos that feel heavy and dense.
- Look at the skin of the pomelo. It’s should be shiny and look healthy. Like how you would choose orange or other citrus fruit. If it’s dry on the outside, it’ll be dry on the inside.
- Lastly, smell your pomelo! Does it smell good? It should smell floral, almost grassy.
What is the best way to eat a pomelo?
There is really no wrong way to eat pomelo. With that said, there are a few things to know. Pomelo has very thick skin. It’s way thicker than a grapefruit’s. How you eat a pomelo really comes down to patience in my opinion.
Do you peel or cut a pomelo?
Whether you cut or peel a pomelo is really up to you. The fast way to get to the flesh of the fruit is by chopping it in half with a chef’s knife. The issue with that technique though is that you lose some of the juice, make a mess, and cut into the flesh.
Instead of hacking away at your pomelo before eating it, try the below method instead:
- Place the pomelo on a cutting board. If it’s rolling around the board, cut off one end so it lies flat and is easier (and safer) to cut.
- Cut four vertical slices down the sides of the rind about a half-inch deep, going all the way around the fruit.
- Using your hands, peel back the skin completely off. It’s going to look like it’s blooming open.
- From the top (or bottom) insert your thumb and pull the fruit apart. Discard as much of the pith as possible.
- Peel the membrane from the sections of the pomelo to expose the flesh of the fruit. Unlike grapefruit, you don’t typically eat the membrane. It won’t hurt you, but it’s a bit bitter.
- Enjoy as-is or incorporate it into your favorite recipe! See below for a few recommendations.
Nutritional information of pomelo
One peeled pomelo is around 20 ounces and contains:
- Calories: 230
- Fat: 5 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 59 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
Pomelo recipe for something lighter and vegan
Pomelo really goes with pretty much anything. From savory to sweet recipes, it’s not uncommon to find pomelo hanging out in a delicious salad. This vegan salad goes a step further and pairs pomelo with tempeh.
Pomelo recipe for when you just need dessert
Pomelo on its own is a sweet treat. But how about incorporating pomelo into a deliciously-baked citrus bar? Yes, please!
Pomelo as a burger topper
Nothing says delicious like the savory-sweet combo of teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple. Try swapping out the pineapple for pomelo. I recommend not grilling the pomelo because the pulp will fall apart. Instead, heat a skillet on top of your grill and sear the pomelo pulp.
Pomelo recipe for when you’re feeling crabby
For another savory recipe, try this recipe that combines pomelo with crab, garlic, and a variety of delicious herbs.
Pomelo recipe for when you really need a drink
And finally, for when you’re feeling like a cocktail, try substituting pomelo juice into our Tropical Sangria recipe.
Finally, can you eat the pith of pomelo?
You actually can! But before you bite in, there’s a catch. You’re going to want to cook the pith. Cooking the pith of fruit is a common practice in some cultures. It also reduces food waste.
Interested in learning more about how to eat the pith of a pomelo? Try out this delicious Cantonese and Japanese-inspired recipe for vegan “beef”. Instead of using actual beef, it uses the pith of the pomelo. Yum!
Have more questions about how to eat a pomelo? Leave them in the comments below.
Until next time, stay salty and sweet ;