Monday, June 15, 2009

Juicy fruit

Speaking of splashes of color that brighten up the winter, I was thrilled to reconnect recently with an old friend who has cheered up many dark winter days for me. (No, I’m not talking about a blast from the past on Facebook, although there have been a few humdingers in the last week or two). I’m talking about my absolute favorite citrus fruit (for eating out of hand, that is—my love of lemons is well documented, but I don’t peel them and eat them for lunch): first encountered in Boston as minneolas, I have just started finding them for sale here as tangelos. (According to Wikipedia, both are correct, so you know it must be true.)

Whatever their name, they are easily recognizable by the big bump around the stem end of the orange—like a cartoon lump on the head—and are generally available only for a brief period during the winter months (as opposed to the ubiquitous and un-compelling navel orange). In Boston, I remember looking for them just after Christmas, when winter really took hold; here I saw them for the first time at the end of May, considerably earlier in the cold-weather season, but no less welcome for that.

If you haven’t gotten into the habit of eating these, may I respectfully suggest that you do so at your earliest convenience? Tangelos are like the navel orange’s much cooler and more interesting cousin. Their skin is a more pronounced shade of glowing orange, they are bursting with juice, and their flavor is complex, both sweet and tangy, reflecting the zing of their grapefruit forebears but with none of the bitterness. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, act now, since supplies are apparently limited (I had to go to two stores to find some today!). For those of you in the northern hemisphere, file away for reference in about six months’ time; I promise you these actually do give you something to look forward to in January.


Sad Rabbit said... Best Blogger Tips

RL. I really must take issue with your navel orange comment. REAL navel oranges are lovely..they are the great big ones that we have around Christmas time, that then slip off the shelves around March time. They have the big open bit at the bottom, and baby orange segments inside. NOT to be confused with navelinas..which are just oranges. and are, therefore more deserving of your cynicism.....

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

SR, I stand corrected. I have never even heard of navelinas, but if they are the ones that are available year round and often have little juice and less flavor, then they are the ones I'm slagging off. Thanks for the info--I'm learning so much from this blog!

seepi said... Best Blogger Tips

I was coming to defend naval oranges too. Whenever I eat a really nice one I am amazed how nice they are and I eat stacks of them for a few weeks, then forget again.

But a good naval orange is a fabulous sweet, juicy thing.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi seepi - thanks for your comment. I think my problem with most supermarket oranges (whether navels or, as SR says, navelinas) is that they are just as (if not more) likely to be dry and insipid as juicy and flavorful (although I do enjoy the good ones). Whereas I devour tangelos every day for weeks on end when they're available, and hardly ever get a dud.

seepi said... Best Blogger Tips

Maybe you're right. The last amazing orange binge I had was when we used to get organic fruit and veg delivered - the oranges were unbelievable.

I've always avoided tangelos - I will keep my eye out for one to try.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

I bet they're good if they're not being mass-produced. And do keep an eye out for the tangelos--I'd be curious to hear what you think!

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