Citrus Expectations – Part 1

It happens sometimes that you expect one thing and you find that you get something quite different. This happened recently when I decided to harvest what I thought was a grapefruit growing on a tree near our vegetable garden. I was told that it was too sour to eat, but I expected that this was simply a taste difference in a culture that prizes its ultra-sweet sweets. I was also told its Greek name – φράπα (frapa) which I blithely assumed was the word for grapefruit. How wrong I was!

frapa_feature

First, it looked a bit different from normal grapefruit – being a bit bigger. Second, when I cut into it, I noticed that it possessed a wide white pith surrounding the juicy inner core. Third, after tasting, it proved to be different than a grapefruit, sour like a lemon and definitely too sour for local taste buds. After looking it up, I found that the Greek for grapefruit is actually γκρέιπφρουτ, a hellenised English word, so not likely to be a fruit commonly eaten in the past, but introduced more recently. This got me wondering what exactly was a φράπα? It turns out to be a pomelo (Citrus maxima), a non-hybrid citrus fruit that resembles a grapefruit. In fact (or at least according to Wikipedia) a true grapefruit is thought to be a hybrid of a pomelo and an orange.

pomelo_sliced

Looking through my photos, I found that I had captured the tree in flower earlier in the year. It has a giant white blossom with a sweet fragrance – again, just like a grapefruit.

frapa_inflower

So…we are enjoying fresh pomelo (mixed with a little orange) juice for breakfast and I am dreaming up other uses for this lovely fruit. Certainly a citrus curd as a flavour base for ice creams and perhaps a γλυκό (spoon sweet) using the rind, which is the traditional Greek use for this fruit. Perhaps in marmalade or even a granita with Campari like the popular grapefruit-Campari cocktail. It is lovely when you happen on a new ingredient, particularly when you can just nip to the veg garden and pick your own.

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8 comments

  1. You’re certainly keeping busy, Deb. An inspiration to some of us slackers. (I mean me.)
    Surprised to see your post. I’m having trouble accessing all sections of my blog other than the ‘Reader’ and had to visit you by clicking on ‘visit’ rather than the usual title. I’d appreciate it if you can tell me whether I’m on my own.

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  2. Pomelo is fairly common in SE Asia used with a hot sweet salty flavour profile, in salads, but it’s often substituted by grapefruit. I think pomelo marmalade would be wonderful or candied rinds.

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  3. These are actually quite easily found in our local supermarkets, so thanks for the ideas on what to do with them. Yours must be so much better though being picked fresh off the tree!

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