The humble orange and I, we aren’t good friends. I’ve long avoided plain old grocery store oranges and tangerines. They’re usually too bitter, too flavorless, too sour for me. I’d much rather eat an apple or a pear than suffer the stinging acid of an orange. I’m not really a fan of orange juice either. I’d rather have milk or water with my breakfast.
But last week, I met my citrus soulmate. It was a Cara Cara orange, and it was the most delicious piece of fruit I’d ever had. The pink-fleshed orange manages to balance a just-right cherry sweetness with a faint hint of an orange’s lip-puckering tang in each bite. Very fragrant, extra juicy.
Then yesterday, I had another citrus breakthrough: the Sumo Citrus. (It’s also called the Dekopon.) Their looks are a little funny to be sure (check out the pebbly peel and topknot), but for everything they lack in the looks department, they make up for in succulent, sweet (and seedless) goodness. Each bite is one part intense Mandarin sweetness, one part refreshing Tangelo tang. And the smell. Oh, the smell! It’s how I imagine sunshine should smell: sweet, bright, and fresh.
Dekopon was created in a fruit research center in Japan in the 70s, and it was almost deemed too unsightly for sale. That is until Japanese consumers began to taste it. It quickly became one of the most popular–and most expensive–fruits in Japan. Sumo Citrus was introduced to the United States just a few years ago and is popping up across the country. Read more about the story of the Sumo Citrus here.
What citrus will surprise me next week? I can’t wait to find out. Let me know in the comments if I should try any other unique varieties, and I’ll be sure to grab one or two while I’m at Whole Foods, buying every piece of Sumo citrus I can find.