Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Fruit & Nut Trees
Wild New Citrus (page 4 of 5)
by Lance Walheim
Pummelos are the largest of all citrus fruits. Some swell to 8 inches in diameter and a several-pound heft. They are far more popular in Asia than in the U.S., partly, I think, because fruit quality has been too variable, and even at their best (such as the 'Chandler'), pummelos are more work than other citrus to peel and eat. But the following two pummelo hybrids have addressed these problems. Now it's only a matter of time before commercial production is sufficient and the consuming market aware.
'Melogold' and 'Oroblanco' are grapefruit-pummelo hybrids developed from original crosses made at the University of California at Riverside. Both are sweet, seedless fruits borne by large, vigorous trees. Perhaps most significantly for gardeners, they require much less heat to sweeten than a grapefruit. Both pummelo hybrids are hardy to about 27° F.
'Melogold'. Slightly larger and heavier than its sister 'Oroblanco', 'Melogold' expresses more of its pummelo than grapefruit heritage. It also ripens slightly later and is somewhat less sweet.
Fruits are large, up to several pounds and more than 6 inches in diameter. Exterior is smooth, yellow-green and easy to peel. Eat it with a spoon, like a grapefruit, separating rind and membranes from individual segments. Fruits ripen February to April in coastal California (south and north); December and January in inland California and low-elevation deserts.
'Oroblanco'. In my opinion the superior of the two, 'Oroblanco' offers perfectly sweet, melting, juicy flesh without a hint of grapefruitlike bitterness. As with 'Melogold', it's eaten with a spoon, separating the sections. The citrus "Sweetie" is a marketing name used for Israel-grown 'Oroblanco', just as "Oroblanco Goldfruit" is a name used for some California-grown fruits.
The fruit has a thick, greenish yellow rind. The flesh is straw-colored and usually seedless. 'Oroblanco' ripens January to March in coastal California (north and south); November and December in inland California and low-elevation deserts.