What Are Tangelos?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

Tangelo

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Tangelos are a citrus fruit that are a hybrid of tangerines and the grapefruit-like pomelo. They have bright, reddish-orange skin and tart, tangy, juicy fruit. They can be used in salads, desserts, and sauces, and for juicing, as well as for snacking on raw. 

What Are Tangelos?

Tangelos are a citrus fruit of the species Citrus tangelo, which includes a number of subspecies including Minneola, which is the most common, along with Orlando, Seminole, and others, each of which is produced by crossing various different cultivars of grapefruit and tangerines.

Tangelos are round to slightly bell-shaped, three to four inches in diameter, or about the size of a baseball, with a characteristic "nipple" at the end where it attaches to the stem. They're easy to peel, with medium skin that is reddish-orange in color with a slightly rough, pebbly texture. The fruit is often seedless but can contain as many as 20 cream-colored seeds, depending on the variety. The fruit is made up of 10 to 12 sections of tender, juicy flesh with a tangy and tart flavor and medium sweetness. 

The name tangelo is derived by the blending of the words tangerine and pomelo, the latter being an ancestral variety of grapefruit. They have medium sweetness, a balance of tart and tangy flavors, and can be quite juicy. In the Northern Hemisphere, tangelos are available from November to March, with their peak coming in the month of January. 

How to Use Tangelos

One of the most best ways of enjoying tangelos is simply to peel them and snack on the juicy sections of fruit within. Because they are so easy to peel, tangelos are a great choice for including in brown bag lunches, especially for kids.

Because of their unique sweet and tangy flavor, tangelos are usually used in their raw form,  like in green salads, fruit salads, and in salsas to accompany fish and seafood. Tangelos can also be juiced, and their juice is used in recipes that call for orange juice, such as cocktails, smoothies, dessert sauces, marmalade, and marinades. And its zest is also a refreshing substitute for lemon or orange zest in sweet desserts and savory dishes alike. Even the peel of a tangelo can be simmered in a sugar syrup to make candied peel.

Tangelo

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Tangelo

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Tangelo

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What Do They Taste Like?

Tangelos have a sweet-tart flavor which is brought about by the combination of the honey sweetness of the tangerines along with the tartness and floral notes of the grapefruit. The acidity is medium to low, and the fruit is juicy. 

Nutritional Value

A 100-gram serving of tangelos provides 47 calories and 12 grams of carbs, along with 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and negligible fat. It also provides 53 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 59 percent of the USDA daily value, making tangelos an excellent source of this nutrient.

Tangelo Recipes

Tangelos can be used in various dishes, such as salads, sauces, and desserts. In general, you can use tangelos in recipes that call for either oranges or tangerines.

Where to Buy Tangelos

Tangelos are available throughout the late fall and into winter, and can be found in grocery store produce sections and at farmers' markets. Look for ones that are firm to slightly soft and heavy for their size, with vibrant orange-red color. 

Storage

Tangelos should be kept in a dry place in cool or cold temperatures. You can keep them at room temperature for a day or two, or to store them for longer than that, keep them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator on the low humidity setting (i.e. with the vent all the way open), where they'll stay fresh for three to four weeks.  

Varieties

There are a number of varieties of tangelos, each one a hybrid of a unique pair of grapefruit and tangerine. Here are a few of the most common:

Minneola: The most common variety of tangelo, a cross of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. Deep red-orange skin with orange flesh. Balance of sweet and tart with loose, easy to remove skin. 

Seminole: A cross of the Bowen grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. Sweet flavor and tart acidity. These tangelos lack the "nipple" at the stem end.

Jamaican: The Jamaican tangelo, sometimes referred to by the proprietary name Ugli fruit, is a naturally occurring hybrid of grapefruit and mandarin oranges. Light green skin that turns orange as it ripens.

Article Sources
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  1. Tangelos. FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture