I first tasted a grapefruit aged 10 - my mother only brought it home as a novelty English product. Blissfully unaware of its bitter fruitiness, it was only through reading Enid Blyton and visiting friends’ houses that I realised the English had such a penchant for grapefruit that there was cutlery specially devised for it.
Ignorance of grapefruit meant knowledge of the pomelo. The pomelo is a bigger, sweeter, juicier fruit than its grapefruit descendant. My mother grew up right next to “the best pomelos in Malaysia” in Tambun which, in my mind, qualifies her as a surefire expert.
The Thais know how to work this fruit; they dip it straight into sugar, salt and chilli or tart it up in a salad with dried shrimp and fish sauce. The Chinese candy the peel.
But it’s honestly so good that it should just be eaten on its own, unadorned with sugar, naked - as part of breakfast, a refreshing end to a rich meal, or even down the pub (the lads feasted on pomelo and peanuts as they watched England lick the Welsh in the six nations last Saturday…).
Pomelos are in season until the end of February and you can buy them in most good Chinese supermarkets. The pomelo in the picture is from China, and is a honey pomelo. Sweet, but faintly bitter, the flesh is pale golden.
Here's how to peel a Pomelo:
Score the thick skin with a sharp knife into quarters.
Grip the pith and strongly peel the skin from the segments.
Pull apart the segments, and they are ready to be peeled and eaten straight away.
It is a big fruit, so if you do want to eat some then keep some without ripening further, then just keep the segments wrapped in an airtight container or in clingfilm, and keep in the fridge.