tangelosBy Kurt Nolte

• The tangelo probably originated in southeastern Asia more than 3,500 years ago as an insect cross-pollination of the Mandarin orange and the pummelo, the ancestor of the grapefruit.

• Today there are several varieties of tangelos. Most are known by the region in Florida where they are commonly grown.

• Minneolas are the most popular variety and are the primary one grown in the Yuma area.

• Yuma County ranks No. 1 in Minneola production within Arizona. In 2005, more than 2,500 acres were harvested here with a value in excess of $3.2 million. They are harvested here in the winter months.

• Minneolas have a smooth to slightly pebbled texture, peel very easily and have few if any seeds. They are easily identified by the knob-like formation at the stem end and their deep orange color.

• Tangelos have a delicious tart-sweet flavor and are very juicy. They can be used in many of the recipes calling for oranges and will yield a slightly different flavor.

• Tangelos have become a popular fruit commercially since they are larger than tangerines, have fewer seeds and have much of the desirable flavor of the tangerine.

• Tangelos have found a popular niche in the gift fruit market.

• A tangelo contains 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, 80 percent of the daily value of folate and 6 percent of the daily value of potassium. The fruit also is a good source of vitamin A and B6, calcium, niacin and magnesium.

• A tangelo will keep a few days at room temperature, but for longer storage, the fruits should be refrigerated. Squeezed Minneola juice will keep refrigerated several days and is good mixed with other citrus juices.

• Tangelo fruit and juice do not freeze well. It is best to enjoy this fruit while you can fresh – then look forward to more the next year.

• Minneola trees are quite vigorous, and given adequate room to develop, will make large trees.

Source: Kurt Nolte is an agriculture agent and Yuma County Cooperative Extension director. He can be reached at knolte@cals.arizona.edu or 726-3904. For additional information please visit https://extension.arizona.edu/yuma