Pomelo: Exploring the Properties and Recipes of Nature’s Largest Citrus

The sweet taste and the subtle notes make it a tasty alternative to grapefruit

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By Alex


The Pomelo is a citrus fruit native to South East Asia: it is a natural, non hybrid fruit that is appreciated for its sweet, mild taste.
It is the largest citrus, now widely cultivated in tropical regions worldwide and can be enjoyed fresh or in various culinary applications.

Pomelo: Origins

The pomelo, scientifically known as Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis, is believed to originate from Southeast Asia. It is one of the original citrus species and is thought to have originated in Malaysia, Indonesia, or the surrounding regions. Also known as the Chinese grapefruit, pomelos are now grown in various tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, the United States, and other citrus-producing countries.

Pomelos are the largest citrus fruits and are known for their sweet and mild flavor. They are similar to grapefruits but tend to be less bitter. Pomelos are often enjoyed fresh, but they can also be used in salads, desserts, and other culinary applications.

Pomelo: Size and Appearance

The pomelo boasts a distinctive pear-like silhouette, characterized by smooth, green or pink-hued skin concealing pulp ranging from straw yellow to red.

Its most remarkable attribute? Undoubtedly, its sheer size! This colossal citrus, the largest in nature, can tip the scales at a whopping ten kilograms! When ripe, its flavor surpasses that of a bitter orange, marked by sweetness, albeit with a hint of acidity.

Pomelos distinguish themselves with their substantial size, surpassing even grapefruits in dimensions. Encased in a thick, protective rind, which can exhibit shades of green or yellow, these citrus giants make a visually impressive statement.

What Does a Pomelo Taste Like?

Pomelos offer a delightful eating experience with a sweet and gentle flavor.

Unlike grapefruits, they are not as bitter, making them a tasty choice for those who prefer a milder citrus taste. The sweetness of pomelos, coupled with their subtle notes, creates a refreshing and enjoyable treat for those savoring this unique citrus fruit.

Nutritional Values of Pomelo

Pomelos, like grapefruits, are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. While specific nutritional values can vary based on factors like cultivation and ripeness, on average, every 100 grams of pomelo typically contains approximately:

  • Calories: 38
  • Protein: 0.8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 9.6 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.0 grams
  • Sugars: 7.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

In terms of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams, pomelos are a good source of:

  • Vitamin C: 61% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
  • Vitamin A: 2% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 3% RDA
  • Potassium: 4% RDA
  • Magnesium: 2% RDA

Additionally, pomelos, like other citrus fruits, contain various antioxidants that contribute to their health benefits. They are low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber.

The massive size of this citrus is probably the most outstanding feature.

Health Benefits of Pomelo

Pomelos, similar to oranges and lemons, are good for your health. Consuming this citrus:

  • Boosts Immunity: Rich in vitamin C, pomelos contribute to a robust immune system. Vitamin C is essential for the body’s defense against illnesses and infections.
  • Promotes Skin Health: The high vitamin C content in pomelos is also beneficial for the skin. It supports collagen production, aiding in maintaining skin elasticity and a healthy complexion.
  • Aids Digestion: Pomelos contain dietary fiber, which supports digestive health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and can alleviate constipation, promoting a healthy and efficient digestive system.
  • Hydration: With a high water content, pomelos contribute to overall hydration. Staying hydrated is essential for various bodily functions, including circulation, temperature regulation, and nutrient transport.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Pomelos, like other citrus fruits, contain antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. This may contribute to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Low in Calories: For those watching their calorie intake, pomelos are a good choice. They provide a sweet and satisfying flavor without being high in calories, making them a healthy snack option.

How to Eat Pomelo: Recipes with Pomelo

Pomelos can add a burst of citrusy flavor to various dishes. Here are a few recipes featuring pomelo:

Pomelo Salad

  • Ingredients: Pomelo segments, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, red onion, avocado, and a dressing made of olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
  • Method: Toss all the ingredients together, drizzle with the dressing, and enjoy a refreshing salad.
A delicious pomelo salad.

Pomelo Salsa

  • Ingredients: Diced pomelo, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, salt.
  • Method: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. This salsa pairs well with grilled fish, chicken, or as a topping for tacos.

Pomelo Shrimp Stir-Fry

  • Ingredients: Shrimp, pomelo segments, bell peppers, snow peas, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Method: Stir-fry shrimp and vegetables in a wok, add pomelo at the end, and toss with a sauce made from soy sauce and sesame oil.

Pomelo Smoothie

  • Ingredients: Pomelo segments, banana, Greek yogurt, honey, ice cubes.
  • Method: Blend all ingredients until smooth for a citrusy and creamy smoothie.

Pomelo Sorbet

  • Ingredients: Pomelo juice, sugar, water.
  • Method: Make a simple syrup by dissolving sugar in water, mix with pomelo juice, and freeze in an ice cream maker for a refreshing sorbet.

Pomelo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Ingredients: Shredded cooked chicken, pomelo segments, water chestnuts, green onions, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and lettuce leaves.
  • Method: Mix the chicken with pomelo, water chestnuts, and sauce. Spoon into lettuce leaves for a light and flavorful wrap.

How to Preserve Pomelo

Pomelo can be stored for about ten days in a cool refrigerator or eight days in the air. Once opened, eat the fruit immediately, otherwise the pulp dries out and the vitamins disappear, oxidized in the air.



While pomelos are generally considered a healthy and nutritious fruit, there are some considerations and potential contraindications to keep in mind:

  • Drug Interactions: This citrus can interact with certain medications. They contain compounds that inhibit the activity of an enzyme in the liver, which can affect the metabolism of certain drugs. This interaction can lead to increased levels of certain medications in the bloodstream, potentially causing adverse effects. If you are taking medications, especially statins and certain anti-anxiety medications, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider about pomelo consumption.
  • Allergies: Individuals with citrus allergies may be sensitive to pomelos. If you have known citrus allergies, it’s essential to be cautious and monitor your body’s response when consuming pomelos.
  • Gastrointestinal Sensitivity: The high acidity in pomelos might be problematic for individuals with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux. It’s advisable to monitor how your body reacts to pomelos and adjust your consumption accordingly.
  • Interactions with Health Conditions: Individuals with certain health conditions, such as kidney issues, should be mindful of their potassium intake. Pomelos, like other citrus fruits, contain potassium, and excessive consumption may not be suitable for those with specific health concerns.

As with any dietary considerations, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual health needs and circumstances.

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