Monday, February 26, 2007

Good Things Come To Those Who Work

Nothing comes easy. That is a universal truth, depressing as it may be. Everything worth having takes a lot of work. This holds true for school, jobs, friends, hobbies, and surprisingly, some fruit. Please meet the pomelo.

Pomelos are hugely fragrant and deeply flavorful, like an amplified grapefruit without the bitter grapefruit edge. Each pomelo segment is made up of hundreds of little juice packets that pop when you bite down... almost like fruit caviar. Pomelos are actually the mommies (or daddies) of grapefruit, which are a cross between a pomelo and an orange. Bet you didn’t know that. There are also pomelo/grapefruit crosses for sale (don’t know where) but this just has too many weird and incestuous implications for me to pursue. Pomelos take a lot of work. They are not a project to be undertaken lightly.

Pomelos are giant green globes with light pink flesh encased in an inch-thick rind - this takes a bit of work to remove. I usually set aside a slow evening for my pomelo consumption, when I know I have nothing to do, will not be interrupted, and can happily peel and eat my pomelo, becoming covered in a thin layer of pomelo as I go. The tools required for this activity are numerous (any good hobby begins with a shopping trip for accessories, I think) – you will need a big bowl to fit all the pomelo refuse, a knife (I guess long fingernails can substitute for the knife, but eww), and a big roll of paper towels. A bib may not be a bad idea.

So this is how it goes. You slice into the rind with the knife to get a foothold (fingerhold). Then start peeling away. Only the top layer of rind will come off at first, leaving a good half inch of bitter and foamy pith behind.

The pith is what takes the most work to remove, and it how one gets about a pound of pomelo lodged under one’s fingernails. Eww again, but it’s worth it. So you pick at the pith, clear off as much as you can until you can stick your finger down the middle of the fruit and pull it in half (see top pic). This is all very complicated and slightly gruesome. Again, worth it.

Remove the thick membrane encasing each large pomelo segment – I sometimes have to use a knife to get a fingerhold to peel off the membrane. Now the eating can commence. The eating technique has to be fitted specifically to each pomelo consumer. The more refined pomelo-eaters can pull off and peel each segment individually, before daintily placing small morsels of pomelo in their mouth. Or you can be me and just go for it. I don’t feel the need to convey the mechanics of “going for it.” I will leave it up to your imagination. I will say that I do not recommend the “going for it” technique while sitting on a couch, unless that couch has some form of plastic covering (all class, that).

All the work is worth it. At the end of the pomelo activity, you will be left with a big bowl of pomelo refuse, a lot of sticky juice in splotches all over, and the rewarding feeling of a job well done.


JC said...

I don't think I've experienced a pomelo. I thought I had, but after seeing the pictures, um yeah, not so much. I've been devouring many of its cousins (or what have you), the clementine, lately. Of course those you can totally peel by hand. The nails on my left forefinger and thumb have been orange quite a bit lately.

I love that you just go for it!

Anna said...

:) I only go for it because there is no one looking! I love clementines. I had a friend who would only eat them with salt - just sprinkled some on top. I have yet to try that.

hollibobolli said...

Wow - I don't think I'll be eating a pomelo. I don't even have the patience for oranges. Sometimes I even get a banana beatdown or two.

We had to come visit your ear, at the demand of my 3-year-old.

I will say salt on fruit sounds intriguing.

JC said...

I'll have to try the salt on the clementine trick. Never tried that with citrus. Have you ever had a blood orange? Those things are so freaky-looking. It's like eating the raw flesh of some strange spherical being.

Melanna said...

hollibobolli - Thank you for visiting me (and my ear). I am hoping to have an addition to my ear sometime in the next month. Maybe that will be my updated profile pic!

JC - I have never had a blood orange, but I have had blood orange vinaigrette, etc. Very good. I like bitter things. Eating raw flesh... Mmmm pretty accurate, I would say. On that same note, I recently had a friend say that oysters are like eating babies/embryos. That one stuck with me. Eww.