What the Heck Is A Pummelo?

by | Feb 5, 2011 | Fruit Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes

For the last few years, my daughters and I have seen pummelos at our local grocery store during the winter months and have marveled at the size of them. Last weekend I finally bought one and we were all pleasantly surprised by the sweet fragrance and taste of the fruit.

So what is a pummelo? According to essortment.com, the pummelo is a large exotic citrus fruit that is an ancestor of the grapefruit. It originated in Asia and is now grown in eastern countries, the Caribbean and United States. The pummelo tree can grow up to heights of 50 feet and produces very attractive white, fragrant flowers. When purchasing a pummelo, select only those that have a fragrant scent, is firm to the touch, and do not have any bruises. Pummelos can be safely stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

The pummelo is much sweeter than grapefruit and does not have that bitter taste that I find with most grapefruit. Even though the pummelo can reach 12 inches in diameter, the fruit inside is much smaller in diameter. Under the rind is a thick spongy pith. The spongy pith in my pummelos probably averaged 1 inch in thickness, but were much thicker in some areas.

To help illustrate the size of the pummelo, on the left of the pummelo is an orange, and on the right is a grapefruit

The inside of the pummelo. Notice the thick spongy pith between the rind and fruit.

A citrus salad I made with a pummelo and other citrus fruit

We really enjoyed the pummelo that we bought last week, so I bought another one this week and made a very refreshing citrus salad with a few other citrus fruits.

Pummelo Salad

– Serves 6


  • 1 pummelo
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 2 mandarin oranges
  • 2 naval oranges
  • 2 tangelos
  • (any combination of tangarines, mandarine, blood, naval oranges will do)


  • Reserve excess juice from the fruit
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Peel the fruit. Cut the fruit in to bite size wedges. While cutting the fruit, reserve the excess juice from the fruit. Remove the membranes from between the pummelo segments. Put the reserved fruit juice, lemon juice, honey, and ground ginger into a small saucepan. On medium high heat, bring juice mixture to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer to reduce the liquid for about 7 to 10 minutes. Allow the dressing to cool. Once the dressing is cool, mix into the fruit salad and serve.