What is Pomelo?

Pomelos are produced in commercial quantities in Thailand (where they are referred to as “sum-oh”), as well as in other parts of Southeast Asia, China, Mexico, southern California and Florida. It is a non-hybrid citrus fruit of Asian origins that was utilised to develop the majority of commercially available cultivars. For instance, the grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and the sweet orange.

The pomelo was given the nickname “King of Citrus Fruits” because of its size, which may reach basketball proportions and weigh up to two pounds. Citrus maxima, its scientific name, translates to “greatest citrus.”

What is Pomelo?

Pomelo, scientifically known as Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis, is a large citrus fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It is the largest citrus fruit and is often likened to a grapefruit due to its size and appearance. Here are some key features of Pomelo:

  1. Size and Appearance: Pomelo fruits can range in size from a small melon to as large as a basketball. They have a thick and pithy rind that can vary in colour, ranging from pale green to yellow or even pinkish hues. The flesh of the pomelo is typically pale yellow to pinkish and divided into segments, similar to other citrus fruits.
  2. Flavour and Taste: Pomelo has a sweet and mild flavour with a subtle tartness. The taste can be described as a combination of grapefruit and orange, but generally less acidic and slightly sweeter. The flesh is juicy and refreshing, making it a popular choice during hot weather.
  3. Nutritional Value: Pomelo is packed with several essential nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and antioxidants. It is also low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol, making it a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet.
  4. Culinary Uses: Pomelo can be enjoyed fresh as a snack or incorporated into various culinary preparations. The fruit can be segmented and eaten on its own, added to fruit salads, or used in recipes for beverages, desserts, or savoury dishes. Its mild and sweet flavour pairs well with other tropical fruits, herbs, and seafood.
  5. Cultural Significance: Pomelo holds cultural significance in many Southeast Asian countries, where it is often used in traditional celebrations and rituals. In some cultures, the fruit is considered a symbol of prosperity, luck, and abundance.

What Does Pomelo Taste Like?

Pomelo has a distinct flavour that can be described as a combination of sweet and mildly tart. The taste is often likened to a milder version of grapefruit with hints of orange. Here are some key characteristics of the taste of pomelo:

  1. Sweetness: Pomelo is known for its sweetness. The flesh of the fruit has a natural sweetness that is less tangy compared to grapefruit. This sweetness can vary depending on the variety and ripeness of the fruit.
  2. Mild Tartness: While pomelo is not as tart as grapefruit, it still carries a subtle tartness. The tartness adds a refreshing and slightly tangy note to the overall flavour profile of the fruit.
  3. Citrus Notes: Pomelo shares citrus characteristics with other citrus fruits. It has hints of citrusy flavours, similar to orange or lemon, but with its unique twist. This citrus aspect contributes to the fruit’s refreshing taste.
  4. Juiciness: Pomelo is known for its juiciness. The flesh of the fruit contains ample juice, which enhances the overall eating experience. The juiciness adds to the refreshing nature of the fruit.
  5. Minimal Bitterness: Unlike grapefruit, which can have a notable bitter taste, pomelo tends to have minimal bitterness. However, it’s worth noting that some varieties of pomelo may have a slight bitterness in the membranes surrounding the segments.

What are the Benefits of Eating Pomelos?

Eating pomelos can provide several health benefits due to their nutritional content. Here are some potential benefits of including pomelos in your diet:

  1. High in Vitamin C: Pomelos are a rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that supports a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage and promoting the production of collagen, which is important for healthy skin, bones, and connective tissues.
  2. Rich in Antioxidants: Pomelos contain various antioxidants, including flavonoids, limonoids, and vitamin C. These antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
  3. Fibre Content: Pomelos are a good source of dietary fibre, which is beneficial for digestive health. Fibre helps promote regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut microbiome.
  4. Hydration: Pomelos have a high water content, which can contribute to overall hydration. Staying hydrated is important for various bodily functions, including maintaining healthy skin, regulating body temperature, and supporting proper organ function.
  5. Potassium Source: Pomelos are a decent source of potassium, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining proper heart function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting nerve and muscle health.
  6. Weight Management: With their low-calorie and high-fibre content, pomelos can be a satisfying and nutritious snack for those watching their weight. The fibre helps to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overeating.
  7. Heart Health: Some research suggests that consuming citrus fruits like pomelos may have a positive impact on heart health. The antioxidants and potassium found in pomelos can support healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What is the Difference Between Pomelo and Grapefruit?

Pomelo and grapefruit are both citrus fruits that share some similarities but also have distinct differences. Here’s a comparison between pomelo and grapefruit:

  1. Size and Appearance: Pomelos are significantly larger than grapefruits. They can reach the size of a small melon or even a basketball. Grapefruits, on the other hand, are smaller and typically range from the size of an orange to a grapefruit.
  2. Flavour: Pomelos have a sweet and mildly tart flavour, similar to a milder version of grapefruit. They have a refreshing taste with hints of citrus, making them enjoyable to eat. Grapefruits, depending on the variety, can have a range of flavours from sweet to tangy and even slightly bitter.
  3. Colour: Pomelos have a variety of colours, including pale green, yellow, and even pinkish hues. Grapefruits typically have yellow or pinkish flesh, depending on the variety.
  4. The Thickness of Rind: Pomelo has a thicker and more pithy rind compared to grapefruit. The rind of pomelo can be challenging to peel, while grapefruit has a thinner and easier-to-peel rind.
  5. Nutritional Content: Both pomelo and grapefruit are nutritious fruits. They are both rich in vitamin C and contain dietary fibre. However, the exact nutritional content may vary depending on the specific variety and size of the fruit.
  6. Availability: Pomelos are more commonly found in Asian countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, where they are native. Grapefruits, on the other hand, are widely cultivated and available in many parts of the world.
  7. Culinary Uses: Pomelos and grapefruits can be used in similar culinary preparations. They can be enjoyed fresh, segmented, and eaten as a snack. Both fruits can be used in fruit salads, desserts, juices, and even savoury dishes.

How to Store Pomelo?

To properly store pomelo and maintain its freshness, follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose ripe pomelos: When purchasing pomelos, select ones that feel heavy for their size and have a firm texture. Avoid fruits with blemishes, soft spots, or signs of mould.
  2. Room temperature storage: If you plan to consume the pomelo within a few days, it can be stored at room temperature, preferably in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  3. Refrigeration: To extend the shelf life of pomelo, you can refrigerate it. Place the whole fruit in the refrigerator, preferably in the crisper drawer, where the temperature is slightly higher than the rest of the fridge. Wrap the pomelo in a plastic bag or place it in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture while allowing some airflow.
  4. Cut pomelo storage: If you have cut open the pomelo and have leftover segments, store them in an airtight container or seal them tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the segmented pomelo and consume it within a few days to maintain its freshness and flavour.
  5. Freezing: While pomelo can be frozen, it is not recommended as the texture and taste may be compromised upon thawing. Freezing can cause the fruit to become mushy and lose its juiciness.

Does Pomelo Cause any Allergies?

Although citrus sensitivities are rare, they are not unheard of. You will almost probably be oversensitive to another natural citrus product if you are sensitive to one. Those who are allergic to dust, which includes grasses, birch, and mugwort, may also experience negative reactions to citrus fruits.

If you are prone to stomach problems, stay away from consuming pomelo products because they might cause severe hypersensitivity. Pomelo should not be eaten because of the potentially dangerously high levels of stomach corrosiveness. When consuming pomelo, be cautious if you have liver or kidney problems.

Pomelo can improve your heart health, but you should use caution. For instance, furanocoumarins, which are included in natural products made from pomelo, can prevent your body from properly absorbing statins if you are taking them to treat high cholesterol.

Also present in grapefruit are these comparable combinations. Additionally, if you buy dried pomelo, be aware that it may include more added sugar and more carbs than fresh pomelo.


Pomelo is the largest citrus fruit, known for its large size and thick, pithy rind. The flesh inside is typically pale yellow to pinkish and divided into segments. It is often described as a milder version of grapefruit, with hints of orange. The taste is refreshing and enjoyable, offering a balance of sweetness and tang. Pomelo is a good source of vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants. It is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy addition to a balanced diet. The fruit’s nutritional content can support immune health, digestive health, and overall well-being.

Pomelo’s unique flavour, refreshing taste, and nutritional benefits make it a noteworthy fruit to include in your diet. Whether eaten on its own or used creatively in recipes, pomelo offers a delightful citrus experience that can be enjoyed by many.