The Inspiration of Urbnspice Series
I live in the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia. Now that the colder weather has arrived, I truly miss the abundance of seasonal fresh fruit. There are a number of alternatives now available in the grocery stores that are unique and delicious. One of the seasonal fruits that are currently available at this time of year are pomelos, which are similar in appearance to a grapefruit but larger. A Pomelo is an interesting citrus fruit native to South and South Eastern Asia. What is noteworthy about pomelo – the largest cultivated citrus fruit, is that it is an original citrus species from which a number of cultivated citrus fruits were hybridized from.
Pomelo is often described as a mild tasting grapefruit. In this post, I will address some of the unique characteristics of pomelo. I will teach you how to prepare and use a Pomelo. I will discuss not only the fruit of the pomelo but also the peel and the pith – all of these pomelo parts have their usefulness.
How to Buy a Pomelo:
When purchasing pomelo, look for a fruit that feels quite heavy for its size, and is unblemished with no soft spots. It should be kept refrigerated and used within a week. The pomelo that I purchased was a sweet seed-free pomelo, however, there are varieties that are very tart. Eating the sweet pomelo fruit is a refreshing treat as it does not have the bitterness of a grapefruit and has a slight sweetness. The thin peel of the pomelo is very fragrant and useful in candied peel, mild marmalade and confectionery. The fruit of a pomelo is in its core, surrounded by a thick layer of spongy pith. Unfortunately, the pith is often discarded. In this post, I will outline a very interesting option regarding how to effectively use the pomelo pith.
Health Benefits of Pomelo:
Eating a pomelo is not only refreshing; it provides over 600% of your daily requirement for Vitamin C, which is an excellent immune system booster. It is an antioxidant, which improves wound healing, and assists with skin and gum health. It also contains potassium, which aids in bone health, as well as levels of vitamin B1, zinc and other nutrients, which promote hair quality and hair health. In addition, eating pomelo fruit helps prevents anemia and urinary tract infection, promotes healing, healthy gums, and heart health. It is also said to help in the fight against cancer and ageing, as well as assist in weight loss. The benefits of pomelo are numerous – I would go so far as to call it a super fruit.
Here are some ways that I have used the fruit, peel and pith of the pomelo:
The Pomelo Fruit:
It takes some work to get to the fruit, but the result is well worth it. Here is your tutorial:
The vesicles are delicious in spinach salads, chopped salads and in cauliflower tabbouleh. This delicious and attractive salad is a variation of my original recipe. It includes the addition of pomelo vesicles, pomegranate arils, chopped pistachios, parsley and mint.
The Pomelo Peel:
I could tell you stories about a culinary coach in an international dessert competition tutoring me on how to painstakingly peel a long thin strip of lemon peel, which was then candied, and finally coiled around a wooden skewer to shape into a beautiful dessert garnish. Suffice it to say that a delicious candied pomelo peel is much easier to make since the peel can be cut into thin strips much easier!
How to Make Candied Pomelo Peel:
This is a simple technique that requires several easy steps:
- Peel the pomelo following the process is shown in the photographs above.
- Remove the peel from the pith, which is easy to do if you push it flat against a firm surface and slide the tip of the knife under the peel. Remove as much of the white pith as possible, trying to keep the peel and the pith intact. (see photo) Set the pith aside for later.
- Slice the pomelo peel into thin strips. Place the peel in a small pot of boiling water. Boil for one minute; drain the water and repeat the water/blanching process two more times. This removes the bitterness from the pomelo peel, leaving a mild citrus flavour.
- Next, bring one cup of water to a simmer. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the blanched peel and simmer the peel for approximately one hour, uncovered until the sugar syrup is absorbed into the peel. Stir occasionally to keep the peel immersed in the syrup. The peel will become translucent and shiny.
- The last step in the process is to coat the peel in sugar. Using a medium-sized bowl, place one-half cup granulated sugar. After one hour, immediately add the hot candied peel to the granulated sugar and toss quickly and thoroughly to coat the peel. It will quickly harden. Place the individual sugared peel strands on a rack to dry.
Once the peel is completely dry and crispy, store in an airtight glass jar. Use as a garnish for pastries, cakes, crème brulée or eat out of hand for a snack.
Alternatively, the peel can be partially dipped in chocolate for an attractive and unique edible gift or garnish. The translucent peel can be stored in the sugar syrup (omitting the final sugar process) and placed in the refrigerator until required. It will remain soft and pliable.
The Pomelo Pith:
I have used the pith of the pomelo as a natural way to add long-lasting fragrance to my homemade potpourri or sachets. Simply dice the pith into ¼-inch dice and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dry in the oven overnight by leaving the oven light on. By morning, the pith should be dry and crispy without colour. To use in potpourri or sachets, use a few drops of essential oil of your choice in some of the dried pomelo pith. Add the perfumed pith to dried flower petals or lavender. The dried pomelo pith will hold the fragrance from the essential oils for a very long time. Store any remaining dried pith in an airtight container for future use.
Another way to use dried pomelo pith and peel (and other dried citrus pith and peel), is to pulverize the dried pith into a powder and add the powder in small amounts to fruit smoothies. The powdered pith and peel is high in fibre, which may help to lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, antioxidants, helps possible reduce rises in blood sugars and could have an effect on weight management and metabolism. The pith contains as much Vitamin C as the fruit. One word of caution that I learned from my research is to be aware of any drug interactions/conflicts if you are taking cholesterol medication and similar medication. Consult your medical practitioner.
The peel and the pith of the pomelo are used in numerous ways in Asian cuisine and culture. I came across an intriguing recipe for braised pomelo pith, which requires three days of soaking in water to remove the bitterness of the pith. As mentioned previously, the peel and pith combination is also used as a great smelling hair treatment.
It is not often that you can say that every bit of a food item can be used – pomelo is clearly one of the exceptions. If you learned something today, please leave me a comment and don’t forget to pin this for later.
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