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How to Peel a Pomelo & Eat It – 3 Methods

The thick skin and white pith can leave you wondering how to peel a pomelo – it is rather difficult to peel. This rather a large citrus fruit as citrus fruits go, can be a little intimidating. Worry not – you’ll soon be an expert!

Find the Easiest of Three Ways to Peel a Pomelo
Find the Easiest of Three Ways to Peel a Pomelo

Video of the Three Methods of Peeling

How to Peel a Pomelo - 3 Methods Explored plus Decorative Carving

Pomelo vs Grapefruit

Pomelo fruit was crossbred with orange and produced the grapefruit, which with their thinner skin and segment membranes are easier to eat and so gained greater popularity in the West.

But pomelo is much more common in its native South East Asia than the West. Its sweet taste, especially the taste of the nampung (honey pomelo) variety, makes them one of Thailand’s favorite fruits.

Pomelo versus Grapefruit - Skin & Pith Differences
Pomelo is Bigger & Sweet – Grapefruit Easier to Eat but Smaller

What is a Pomelo?

People also ask ‘what is a pummelo?’ but they can’t spell. They are one and the same thing – a big citrus fruit. If you think of them as sweet, large grapefruit then you will be on the right track.

Pomelos fruit from their flowers, growing on trees across SE Asia and are picked almost ripe to allow for transportation to market. The best ones have even skin with no wrinkles – like us, wrinkles are a sign of getting too old!

Pomelo fruit growing on pomelo trees in a beautiful location
Pomelo fruit growing on pomelo trees in a beautiful location

The problem remains how to peel a pomelo; you can’t just dig in your nails and pull back the skin as you can an orange.

There are three popular methods used to cut the pomelo peel, so let’s take a look at them.

Pomelos at the Market
Pomelos at the Market

Method 1 – Cut the Skin Off Vertically

This is TastyThais preferred method because we think it is the easiest.

Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the pomelo, as close to the inner flesh as you dare.

Rest the pomelo on the flat cut surface you just cut and slice down the skin in segments taking as much pith with you as you cut, Try not to cut right into the flesh of the fruit.

Continue cutting around the fruit until all the skin is off.

Jump to Segmenting the Flesh section below.

How to peel a pomelo vertically - the best way
Vertical cutting is the method we found easiest

Method 2 – Cut The Skin in A Spiral

This method is almost as easy as method 1 and follows the same mantra but cutting around in a spiral as you would peel an apple skin.

Make a start at the top of the fruit and simply cut around spirally taking off as much of the tough pith under the skin as you can without cutting into the flesh if possible.

The problem with cutting into the flesh is that the juice comes out and makes things messy pretty quickly.

Jump to Segmenting the Flesh section below.

Peeling a Pomelo with the Spiral Apple Cut Method - 2nd Best
Peeling a Pomelo with the Spiral Apple Cut Method – 2nd Best for us

Method 3 – Score and Peel the Skin Off

I saw this method demonstrated whilst researching this article and decided to try it out.

The idea is to score the fruit with a paring knife in segments from top to bottom using the end of a sharp knife. You need to score quite deeply to get the peel off which means you will probably cut into the flesh in the process.

Once you have scored the fruit into segments – about eight or ten altogether, then make a start at the top of the fruit and then pull away with your fingers.

We tried this and found it was practically impossible meaning we had either not scored deeply enough, not scored out enough segments, or are just weak humans unable to pull off the peel of a simple fruit.

Whatever, it was far too much effort yanking and pulling and trying to judge how deep we were scoring and so on.

We gave up with that method and think you will too

Score the Skin Method is a Bit Tough
Score the skin and then pull. It’s a challenge!

Segmenting the Pomelo

You can’t just cut open a pomelo and start eating it like an orange, as it is really quite an effort to pull the segments apart. You can’t really halve it and eat it as you would a grapefruit either.

The membranes which envelop the pomelo flesh are actually quite tough to get apart and are not much fun to eat. The best way to get into the juicy flesh is to cut across the top of the segment, poke the end of your knife in between the membrane and flesh and push a little way in between the two.

Ease the Flesh Away from the Membranes
Ease the Flesh Away from the Membranes

Then twist a little.

The membrane will come away, exposing the flesh which you can then simply pull apart.

Sometimes you can pull off the remaining part of the membrane of the segment you just released along with the exposed segment of the next piece – two in one go so to speak.

Pull off all the flesh, remove the pips and then use it in whatever recipe you want.

Removing Seeds and Segmenting
Segmenting the Flesh from the Internal Segment Membranes

What Does Pomelo Taste Like?

Depending on the variety you purchase, pomelo can be quite sweet to quite tangy just like a grapefruit but with a generally less harsh sourness. They also come with either light-colored or pink flesh.

Other than that the taste is somewhat similar and you can usually happily substitute pomelo for grapefruit and vice versa. Bear in mind though that pomelo is usually quite a bit bigger so make allowance in any recipe.

Eating a Pomelo

The best way to eat pomelo is in a salad or as an appetizer such as our Yum Som O recipe which is a wonderfully tasty Royal Thai fresh salad you’ll love.

Yum Som O - Favorite Thai Savory Salad Made with Pomelo
Yum Som O – A Sweet and Savory Pomelo Salad

Or they can be made into juice, sorbet, mousse, or used wherever you might eat citrus fruit.

Thais love pomelo, and if out and about, will eat the fruit fresh with a little sweet and sour chili sugar mix.

Pomelo – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pamplemousse?

Pamplemousse is the French word for grapefruit. The French for pomelo is simply pomelo.

What are the health benefits of Pomelo?

Pomelo fruits are a great source of vitamin C and have a healthy fiber content of around 6g per fruit. They contain plenty of antioxidants too. Aside from these facts, there are some other reported health benefits that you can find more about here.

What other Names are There for Pomelo?

Well, the correct spelling is pomelo although it is sometimes called shaddock in the UK, misspelled pumello, pumelo, pomello, and no doubt several more misspellings.

The Latin name is citrus maxima or citrus granda and they are also known as Chinese grapefruit or Asian grapefruit..

Can You Eat Pomelo Raw?

Yes. You can eat pomelo raw but you do need to peel the skin, and separate the tough white pith as well as the tough segment membranes. So you canlt eat a pomelo quite the same as an orange or grapefruit.

How To Tell if a Pomelo is Ripe?

Pomelos vary between type but if you are choosing at a market stall or shop stocking one type then pick the heaviest fruit for the weight. A ripe pomelo should have a light, pleasantly fresh, slightly floral, aroma. If the skin is wrinkled then it is too old and likely has quite dry flesh inside.

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