photo credit: gourmetsleuth

Pomelo History

The pomelo was most likely from Malaysia and Indonesia where it grew wild.  It is also presumed to have been grown by the Chinese for thousands of years.

About The Pomelo

pomelo growing on tree

The pomelo pronounced [pom-EH-loh] is also found spelled pommelo.  Thought to be the ancestor of the grapefruit.

This giant citrus (citrus grandus) fruit is native to Malaysia (where it still grows abundantly). It is also cultivated in California and Israel. Most of the varieties found today have been bred and grown. A large pomelo is the largest of all citrus. They can grow to be as large as a foot in diameter and up to 25 pounds. The rind is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit is light yellow to coral-pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart. The pomelo is also known as a shaddock

Culinary Uses

The pomelo can be used anywhere where grapefruit is suggested. The rind is sometimes candied or used in jams.

Medicinal Uses

The Chinese boil the skins and the leaves of the pomelo to prepare a ceremonial bath to "ritually cleanse a person and repel evil".

Featured Recipe

Yam Som-O (Thai Pomelo-Chicken Salad)

1 Pomelo or ruby red -grapefruit
1 small whole cooked chicken breast
1 cup cooked shrimp
1 teaspoon chopped red chile
1 1/2 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Juice from 1 large lime
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 small head red leaf lettuce
for -garnish

1/4 cup roasted peanuts,
Chopped fresh red chile, julienned for garnish

Peel and separate pomelo or grapefruit into segments. Remove the membranes. Seed. Gently flake the flesh apart into a bowl. Chill. Hand shred the chicken. Add chicken and shrimp to pomelo. In a small bowl mix together the chopped red chile with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and coriander; toss with pomelo chicken mixture. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter. Put the fruit mixture over the lettuce. Top with peanuts and 2 tablespoons of Crisp Fried Shallot Flakes, and garnish with red chile slivers.

Serves 4 to 6 as a salad entree.

Crispy Fried Shallot Flakes 

6 Shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup vegetable oil

Slice shallots into thin slices. Be sure they are all of the same thinness to ensure even cooking. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add shallots and fry slowly until browned and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. The moisture in the shallots should be completely cooked out. Drain on paper towel. Store in an air-tight container.

Fun Fact about Pomelo

Nutrition Information For Pomelo

Serving Size
1 cup sections, with juice
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 21g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Buy And Store

The pomelo are regularly found in Hispanic and Asian markets and quite possibly in your neighborhood grocery as well. Refrigerate the fruit up to one week.

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.