Oh, the pommelo (pummelo, pampelmousse, pamparapanasa in Telugu) is a different, delightful citrus altogether. Unlike its smaller cousins, the oranges, tangerines and such, whose interiors are softer, more wet and sections therefore slightly, just slightly, harder to peel without squashing, these are well defined. Unlike them though, this is more difficult to get through, because of its very thick rind and very fibrous interiors, but once you open it, it’s a juicy treat. This citrus fruit is quite an individual, its bittersweet taste sets its apart from the sweet-sour tang of its ilk.
My grandmother had a tree at home which died only in the last couple of years. I remember my aunt bringing it to a friend’s house, where the Aunties, who were making a vegetable salad for lunch, very matter-of-factly cut it up, scooped the flesh and put it in. It made a pretty picture alright, pale pink flesh and all, I remember thinking, but who would ever use that in a salad? (I had yet to evolve, as you can guess.) And how could they mix up such an increasingly rare fruit with plain old vegetables and not savor it by itself? Then came lunchtime, and the salad, with a very plain dressing of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper came alive with the texture of these pommelo chunks. What were the rest of the ingredients? Onion, cucumber, carrot is what I remember, and some moong sprouts as well. Well, I may be imagining the sprouts but they go well with citrus fruit, I know that for a fact. I’ve even seen recipes for pommelo salads with shrimp but am yet to try them. There’s a yellowish-fleshed variety as well.
I’ve eaten pommelo marmalade once – that was the first time I got to know the English name of this fruit. My friend’s mother had made it from one fruit and ended up with quite a lot. The little browsing that my lately faulty Internet connection permitted me to do told me this fruit’s rind is better used for candied peel and that it’s native to South-East Asia. I still like it best sans embellishments, in all its natural glory. And I like to have it all to myself.
Last weekend, on a sudden trip home for Vinayaka Chaturthi, I noticed carts selling these. This is the only time I see them in the market. Then they made their appearance on the dining table in a relative’s home. I ate greedily, and was thrilled to carry the leftovers home and eat more. Our hostess sent over one more that evening, and I bought a couple more. One more that miraculously appeared in the fruit bowl at home made its way into my bag, Dad and Mom telling me very graciously that neither of them would eat it when I asked them if they minded. “Keep some for my guide,” said The Spouse, who’s working towards a Ph. D, “at least from my share of the fruit,” only to be told he didn’t have a share. I now have two more left. The first was peeled painstakingly, shapely, for the camera, and a knife plunged and dug through the second to rapidly fill a bowl with the booty, which made a delicious, light chilled dessert after a busy day at work.
This is my submission for Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging this week, hosted by Myriam at Once Upon a Tart this week.
Weekend Herb Blogging Pommelo, pummelo, pampelmousse, pamparapanasa Fruit