Posted by: lornasass | December 27, 2009


Large and small pomelos with bumpy, home-grown orange on top and world's best-tasting tangerine below

This is our second visit to Maui and honestly, I don’t remember seeing even one citrus tree the last time I was here.

Although we’re staying in the same general area–upcountry Haiku in the north, central, non-touristy part of the island–we’re in a more rural neighborhood.  And we are seeing orange, tangerine, and lemon trees in front yards and back yards all over the place.

Two days ago some tangerines were literally dripping from a tree over the fence of someone’s backyard, and I yelled “STOP,” to The Sweetie so I could go over and yank two off the tree.  I have no idea if I’m a citrus criminal in Maui’s eyes, but I am feisty and shameless about this sort of thing.  Fortunately I didn’t get caught and we ate one right away, still sun-warm and oozing juice, the most deliciously sweet and flavor-packed tangerine I’ve ever tasted.  (The second one is pictured below and we are looking forward to eating it today.)

It seems like the GPS takes us past the same tree every time we return to our rental cottage, so yesterday I greedily stopped to

The last of the stolen tangerines, up close and personal

pluck off some more, but they were all too high up reach.

A friendly Hawaiian man strumming his guitar, with an adorable puppy sniffing around his feet, asked if he could help.  I explained my quest with some embarrassment and he suggested I knock on the door and see if anyone was home.

A young Asian woman came to the door looking rather sleepy, and I asked if I could buy some tangerines.  I apologized and admitted that I hadn’t been able to resist taking a few the other day and thought they were superb.  She said that they eat the tangerines themselves, but asked it I’d like some pomelos.  “Sure, ” I said, trying to mask my disappointment about the tangerines and not really knowing if I wanted pomelos or not.

I climbed a children’s jungle-gym near the very tall pomelo tree and tried to reach some of the huge yellowish fruits, but they were all way out of my reach. The woman came over with a long pole with a basket and hooks at the end and yanked 3 from the tree.  One crashed onto the ground so hard that it split open.  She didn’t know how old the tree was because she inherited it with the house.  Nice inheritance, I way, the gift that keeps on giving…

1/4 of a large pomelo, thick skin, clusters of seeds, and very juicy, sweet-tart flesh

She sent us home with three of various sizes in a bag that easily weighed ten pounds.  The pomelos ranged in size from a very large grapefruit to a papaya, about 9 inches tall and 7 inches wide.

I’m not sure if this was my first pomelo, but it certainly was the most delicious blend of sweet and tart grapefruit I’ve even eaten.

I’ll planning to keep my eyes out as we’re driving around.  Who knows what other citrus epiphanies lie ahead.

Tip of pomelo where the fruit attaches to the tree



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lorna Sass, Russell Bradchulis. Russell Bradchulis said: MY MAUI: CITRUS CAPERS « LORNA SASS AT LARGE: She didn't know how old the tree was because she inherited it.. […]

  2. I’m salivating!!!!!

    • So are my friends on Facebook. I had another one together and they really are spectacular…The juice just drips down your chin…

  3. Oh me oh my….to be able to pick fruit right off of an outside tree is amazing. I’ve only been able to do it a few times in my life. Citrus wasn’t among them unfortunately. Like Hinda said…I’m also salivating!

  4. Lorne- I didn’t realize that pomelos grow in Hawaii. We had them 2 years ago when we were visiting Jenny in Jerusalem. They’re a real treat, especially after removing that thick skin. The displays of them in Machane Yehuda were wonderful – mounds of huge yellow globes. I assumed that pomelos were a Mid-East fruit. I guess not.

    • OH, that’s fun. I haven’t researched their origin. We still have one left in the fridge. What a treat! So juicy.

  5. My only experience with picking an illegal fruit was a pineapple in Puerto Rico. I didn’t exactly pick it – but sure ate it after we filled it with rum and let it sit overnight! Boy-oh-boy – I still remember the hangover!

    • You bad! I’m so glad you have those wonderful memories.

  6. Your story was too funny! My mouth is watering at the thought of eating fresh-picked tangerines like that!

    • So far we haven’t had any others as tasty and juicy. It was a tangerine epiphany.

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