Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pomelo (Chinese Grapefruit)

Botanical name: Citrus maxima

The pomelo, also called Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, pumelo, pommelo, and pompelmous,(Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis), is a citrus fruit native to South East Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick spongy rind. It is the largest citrus fruit, ranging from the size of an extra-large grapefruit to the diameter of a basketball,[1] and usually weighing between 1 and 2 kg. The pomelo tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit - it has very little or none of the common grapefruit's bitterness, but the membranes of the segments are bitter and usually discarded.

The pummelo tree is evegreen tree, may be 16 to 50 ft tall, with a somewhat crooked trunk 4 to 12 in thick, and low, irregular branches. The leaves are alternate, ovate, ovate-oblong, or elliptic, 5-20 cm long, 2-12 cm wide, leathery, dull-green, glossy above, dull and minutely hairy beneath. The flowers are fragrant, borne singly or in clusters of 2 to 10 in the leaf axils, or sometimes 10 to 15 in terminal racemes 4 to 12 in long; rachis and calyx hairy; the 4 to 5 petals, yellowish-white, 1.5-3.5 cm long, somewhat hairy on the outside and dotted with yellow-green glands; stamens white, prominent, in bundles of 4 to 5.

In season November through March, Pummelos are especially popular for Chinese New Year. The Chinese believe the delectable Pummelo is a sign of prosperity and good fortune - good things will happen if they eat it.

How to grow
The pomelo prefers hot and humid climate, full sun, rich moist soil with well drainage to promote grow. The tree spacing is about 3.5 meters. Planting season is spring and fall. Soak your seed in warm water for few hours before you start sow them into the soil. The germination period is about 2 weeks. Plant the seed in the container or transplant later. Frost free condition.

Nutrition info
The pomelo is an excellent source of vitamin C . It also contains potassium and folic acid.

Eat the fruit fresh or use it to make juice. Fruit pulp is also used in salads. The peel is used to make candies. They are also good for jams, jellies, marmalades and syrups.

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