What is a tangelo?
Juicy, tart tangelos tossed with sliced strawberries and freshly torn mint adds freshness and a nutritious punch to breakfast. The fruit is also delicious in savoury dishes such as a salad of tangelo, Asian greens, toasted walnuts and goat’s cheese drizzled with olive oil and served alongside grilled chicken.
Tangelos are a hybrid citrus fruit thought to have originated in South-East Asia over 3,500 years ago, probably as a result of insects cross-pollinating a mandarin and the ancestor of the grapefruit.
The first known intentional cross-pollination of this hybrid fruit occurred in the late 1800s in Florida in the US. In 1931, the United States Government developed the Minneola tangelo in Florida and released it for commercial production.
The Minneola, with its distinctive bell or pear shape, is the most common commercial variety grown in Australia.
In Australia, tangelos are usually sold as the ‘Minneola’ (or Honeybell) variety. The Minneola is a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit. Other types of tangelos can be a cross between a mandarin and a pomelo.
Tangelos are dark-orange coloured fruit with juicy, sweet flesh. They taste tangier than an orange and have the sweetness of a mandarin. Tangelos have a thin skin that is easy to peel and few seeds. They also have a knob-like shape at one end, which gives them a pear or bell shape.
Why tangelos are good to eat
- Tangelos are a good source of vitamins C (needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body) and B9 (folate) and contain some vitamin A (important for growth and development and the maintenance of your immune system).
- They also contain minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure) and magnesium (involved in the regulation of muscle, heart and nerve function and keeping bones strong).
- Tangelos contain dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
- Energy – 100 g of tangelo supplies about 155 kJ.
How are they grown and harvested?
Tangelo trees are large (up to 6 m tall and 4 m wide), evergreen (they do not lose their leaves) plants with thick, bright-green, waxy leaves. They are sensitive to the cold and grow best in climates where the winters are dry and the summers are warm to hot. The trees need full sun and plenty of water to produce high-quality fruit.
Tangelo trees produce white, fragrant flowers that develop into fruit once they are pollinated. Ripe tangelos are about the size of an orange and feel firm and heavy for their size. The skin of ripe tangelos is orange and smooth with a slight red tinge.
Choose tangelos that have an even skin colour and feel heavy for their size. Avoid those with soft spots or other visible damage to the skin.
How to store and keep tangelos
Store tangelos at room temperature, in a cool place. They will last up to a week when stored this way. To extend their storage life, place in the crisper section of your fridge. Tangelos will last for up to two weeks when refrigerated.
How to use
- Make some tacos – fill taco shells with a mixture of tangelo segments, diced avocado, spicy black beans and corn, then add cooked prawns and top with sour cream spiked with chilli, garlic, tangelo juice and chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve a citrus salsa – sauté garlic with grated tangelo zest and chopped red chilli, then add tangelo segments, halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves and use this salsa on grilled chicken with goat’s cheese.
- Try a healthy entrée – combine tangelo segments, grated tangelo zest, chunks of cooked beetroot, fresh mint, toasted almonds and toasted cumin seeds, then mix through cooked cous cous (or quinoa) and finish off with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Prepare an easy salad – combine tangelo segments, spinach leaves, sliced endive, sliced red onions, torn mint leaves and toasted walnuts, then dress with a mixture of vinegar, oil, tangelo juice and grated zest and freshly cracked pepper.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Better Health Channel
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