Nope, there’s no wrestling required to enjoy this new citrus known as the Sumo.
A hybrid, seedless mandarin-orange, it’s as effortless to peel as a tangerine. It’s enormous — about the size of a large orange. With a knob on top like a tangelo and quite bumpy skin, it probably won’t win any beauty awards. But it will floor you with flavor. Its plump segments are loaded with concentrated juice that’s quite tangerine-like, yet with a far higher sugar content. Biting into one is so quenching that it’s like eating a glass of orange juice, if you can imagine that.
Also known as the “Dekopon” in Japan and “Hallabong” in Korea, the Sumo originated in Japan, where perfect ones can be found selling for a staggering $8 a piece in Tokyo gift shops.
The Sumo, which is being grown in California’s Central Valley by a consortium of family farms, is now available in Bay Area stores this year. But don’t worry, you won’t have to pay through the roof for them as you do in Japan. I found mine for $2.99 a pound at Zanotto’s in San Jose last week.
Although the fruit carries a formidable name, it’s actually quite delicate. It must be hand-pruned, hand-picked and hand-packed.
You’ve got to try one. It’s sure to be love at first squirt.
More Fun Citrus: Sweet Liimes
And: Finger Limes
And: Buddha’s Hand
And: Japanese Hoshigaki
Plus: Real Wasabi