Citrus maxima (or Citrus grandis), (Common names: shaddock, pomelo, pummelo, pommelo, pamplemousse or shaddok) is an original citrus fruit, with the look of a big grapefruit, native to South and Southeast Asia.
Citrus maxima was originally called "shaddock" in English, after the captain of an East India Company ship who introduced it to Jamaica in 1696. Recently the word "pomelo" has become the more common name, although "pomelo" has historically been used for grapefruit. (The 1973 printing of the American Heritage Dictionary for example gives grapefruit as the only meaning of "pomelo".)
The etymology of the word "pomelo" is uncertain. It is thought to perhaps be an alteration of the Dutch pompelmoes (meaning Citrus maxima) or alternatively, perhaps an alteration of a compound of pome ("apple") + melon.
The fruit is known by various local names in India, including "batabi lebu" (বাতাবি লেবু) in West Bengal, "robab tenga" in Assam, "nobaab" in Manipur, and "kambili naranga" in Kerala. In Hindi and Urdu it is called "chakotra" चकोतरा چکوترا or "Bijoura". In Nepal, it is called "bhogate" भोगटे.
Citrus maxima is native to Southeast Asia and is known there under a wide variety of names. In large parts of South East Asia, it is a popular dessert, often eaten raw sprinkled with or dipped in salt mixture. It is also eaten in salads and drinks.
Description & uses
It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick albedo (rind pith). It is a large citrus fruit, 15–25 centimetres (5.9–9.8 in) in diameter, and usually weighing 1–2 kilograms (2.2–4.4 lb). Leaf petioles are distinctly winged.
The fruit tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit (which is itself believed to be a hybrid of Citrus maxima and the orange), though the typical shaddock is much larger in size than the grapefruit. It has very little, or none, of the common grapefruit's bitterness, but the enveloping membranous material around the segments is bitter, considered inedible, and thus usually is discarded. The peel is sometimes used to make marmalade, can be candied and sometimes dipped in chocolate. In Brazil, the thick skin is often used for making a sweet conserve, while the middle is discarded. Citrus maxima is usually grafted onto other citrus rootstocks, but can be grown from seed, provided the seeds are not allowed to dry out before planting.
The fruit is said to have been introduced to Japan by a Cantonese captain in the An'ei era (1772–1781). The two varieties are a sweet kind with a white flesh and a sour kind with a pinkish flesh, which is more likely to be used as an altar decoration than actually eaten. Pomelos are often eaten in Asia during the mid-autumn festival or mooncake festival.
It is one of the ingredients of Forbidden Fruit, a liqueur dating back to the early 20th century that also contains honey and brandy. This liqueur is most famously used in the Dorchester cocktail.
The pomelo is one of the four original citrus species, from which the rest of cultivated citrus hybridized. Specially, the common orange and the grapefruit are assumed to be natural occurring hybrids between the pomelo and the mandarin, of which the pomelo provided the bigger size and firmness.
The pomelo is also employed today in artificial breeding programs:
- The tangelo is a hybrid between Citrus maxima and the tangerine. It has a thicker skin than a tangerine and is less sweet.
- The Oroblanco and Melogold grapefruits are hybrids between Citrus maxima and the grapefruit.
- Mandelos are another hybrid containing genetic material from Citrus maxima.
- "Shaddock". Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- American Heritage Dictionary, 1973.
- “pomelo, n.” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [Draft revision; June 2008]
- "Fruity delight". Down To Earth. 2014-02-15. Retrieved 2014-10-30.
- "Pummelo". Hort.purdue.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- Growing the granddaddy of grapefruit, SFGate.com, December 25, 2004
- Grapefruit "Grapefruit". Hort.purdue.edu. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- "阿久根市： 観光・特産品（ボンタン）". City.akune.kagoshima.jp. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
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