Pomelos are indigenous to Southeast Asia and frequently used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Larger than a grapefruit, they have a very thick, spongy and bitter pith which needs to be removed before it can be eaten. You may be tempted to hack away at the pith with a knife.
This doesn't work very well. You wind up cutting through the fruit, which is what you don't want to do. The goal is to remove the pith and the segment membranes, but keep the fruit vesicles whole. Vesicles are the little juice sacs within the fruit segments. Here is a better way:
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How To Peel a Pomelo
Cut off the top and bottom of the pomelo.
Score the sides of the pomelo, so you have 4 quarters.
Peel away the peel and the pith along the score lines.
Use your fingers to peel away remaining pith.
Separate the segments and remove the outer membrane.
Sometimes you will need your knife to remove the tough inner section of the segment.
When you are finished you will have segments with their membranes removed, or take it further and separate the segments so that you have a bowl of juice vesicles. Eat them as is or add to salads.
Pomelo Nutrition and Health Benefits
A single pomelo contains almost twice the U.S. daily Vitamin C requirement. They are low in calorie and high in fiber, potassium and bioflavonoids. Pomelos promote heart health and protect against cancer and aging. They have long been used in Asian medicine to treat a variety of conditions including: swelling, inflammation, coughs, car sickness, indigestion and even hangovers.
Where Pomelos Are Grown
Pomelos are indigenous to Southeast Asia, but pomelos are also grown in China, Mexico and California.
How to Pick a Pomelo
Look for fragrant pomelos that are heavy for their size. Some say to look for smooth-skinned pomelos, but according to my grocer, pomelos taste better when they are a little wrinkly.
My favorite pomelo recipe is Thai pomelo and chicken salad.
Pomelo hats are given to children to celebrate the Chinese Moon festival. Check out pomelo hats here.