I love grapefruits, especially ruby reds. I love that composite sweet and sour taste. The flavor is complex, like a rich red wine. But it is also intense. I sometimes feel like I need to be “ready” to eat a grapefruit. It’s not a food you can be mindless with like potato chips and salsas.
The pomelo comes from China and is thought to be the ancestor of the grapefruit where it is considered to be “the tree of life.” The water in which pomelo leaves have been soaking is often used to bathe newborns. Pomelos are often planted in Chinese cemeteries. Chinese mythology also claims that the pomelo leaves are essential for a dragon’s diet.
So today, a gift of a pomelo from JB for my lunch. I had never eaten one before. It was huge. Twice the size of a grapefruit with very, very thick skin. I have heard they can grow as large as a basketball. I had to work very hard peeling it. In fact, I left quite a mess of it on the round gray table in my office at school. It looked as if there had been a very sloppy citrus murder nearby. The pith of a grapefruit is edible, but the pith of the pomelo is tough. Definitely not for consumption. It all needs to be peeled away.
The segments of the pomelo do not hold together like orange segments, but fall into citrusy pieces, those little micro bits filled with juice and you eat it off the pith like corn off the cob. The taste, like the name pomelo, is sweet and subtle and nuanced. Velvety sweet sparks of flavor with a soft sour kick.
In the midst of a busy, emotionally and intellectually draining day, filled with research drafts, poster boards, oral presentations, and students needing support and cheering on, I spent a few savory moments in a pomelo oasis provided by JB. Poetry is everywhere.