Bigger than the Biggest Grapefruit You’ve Ever Seen
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Prospecting the biggest darn grapefruit known to man -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 1400 — full exif
Prospecting
the biggest darn grapefruit known to man
vs. an Egg -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 1400 — full exif
vs. an Egg

I was in the supermarket yesterday and did a double-take when I saw a basket of volleyball-sized grapefruit. They were huge, twice the size of any grapefruit I'd ever seen.

Supermarket Display -- Kyoto, Japan -- http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone — f/2.8 — map & image datanearby photos
Supermarket Display

Except they weren't grapefruit. The sign called them banpeiyu (晩白柚). For $6, I had to pick one up.

It turns out that they're a variety of something called Pomelo, a citrus fruit that I had never heard of. This particular variety comes from Viet Nam.

When I got home, I told Anthony that I had a surprise, had him close his eyes, and place it on the table in front of him. Upon opening his eyes, he broke out in uncontrollable “wow, check it out” laughter for a good half a minute. It was cute.

For some reason, I had the thought that it'd be fun to play on the size by photographing it a scene with some of his small toys, along the lines of this old post: Heavy Industries on the Kitchen Table. He liked the idea, but I still have my cold, and I just ran out of steam last night, so couldn't do it.

But he wanted to try, so he set it up with men and helicopters and trucks and such, and took a shot...

Artist at Work -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44 mm — 2 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — full exif
Artist at Work

(I wanted to get a picture of him lit by his flash, so I set my camera to a manual two-second exposure, tripped my shutter, then told him to take his shot. I was holding the camera freestanding, and did a pretty good job holding still for two seconds, I think, but it's the ultra-fast flash from his camera that renders the sharper areas of the frame.)

Here's his picture...

Photo by Anthony M. Friedl -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Canon IXY DIGITAL 700 + 7.7-23.1mm @ 7 mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8 — full exif
Photo by Anthony M. Friedl

So, today I had more energy and gave it a try myself....

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2200 — full exif
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.6, ISO 560 — full exif
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 110 mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 640 — full exif

I tried adding a normal pen for scale, but eventually decided that the simple shot with the egg was better for setting the scale. Anthony liked the idea, too..

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2200 — full exif

So, enough playing with the camera... now was the time to eat it! (The fruit, not the camera.)

I sliced off the top inch or so, and found.... nothing.

Must Dig Deeper -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 52 mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2200 — full exif
Must Dig Deeper

Just slicing through the peel, though, unleashed an intense citrus smell that almost assaulted you with its ferocity. Anthony thought it was wonderful, but I wasn't so sure. My nose has experience with citrus like oranges, limes, tangerines, yuzu, grapefruit, lemons – you know, normal citrus fruits – and this one smelled just a bit “off”, like the potent oder of a cheap car freshener.

Anyway, I sliced off another inch or so, and hit paydirt...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44 mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2200 — full exif

The peel was crazy-thick and spongy, I scored the fruit vertically all around, and started to peel away...

That's Some Thick Peel! -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 66 mm — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 2800 — full exif
That's Some Thick Peel!
Now it's a Flower! -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 3600 — full exif
Now it's a Flower!

The peel was thick, spongy, and clingy, and after 10 minutes of trying to scrape it off, it was still a mess...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2500 — full exif

It turns out that I shouldn't have wasted my time with that, because once I broke it apart, it turned out that each segment was in an easily-removable covering, much like a really dry grapefruit....

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 66 mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2200 — full exif

Oddly, it was not the least bit juicy. Anthony and I started breaking out the fruit part, and gave it a try. Like the smell it was close to something I knew (a grapefruit), but oddly different. But unlike the smell, the taste was a clear win. There was only the slightest hint of bitterness that screams “grapefruit” to your tastebuds, but otherwise it was very mild, perhaps even slightly sweet. Extremely mild.

Perhaps a Quarter of the Fruit -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1800 — full exif
Perhaps a Quarter of the Fruit

We've still got half in the fridge, wrapped tight to rein in its pungent half-pleasant half-not oder.


All 9 comments so far, oldest first...

This is something I would like to taste, at least once. So much of the world is unfamiliar, got to get crackin’.

— comment by Alan Schrank on March 15th, 2009 at 10:45pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Another good photo sequence–I also loved the recent dog dating etiquette sequence. That is a well padded fruit. I don’t know why, but I just broke out laughing when I saw the “Now it’s a flower!” image.

— comment by Nelson Guzman on March 16th, 2009 at 5:56am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

For scale, “Artist at Work” is better then the egg OR the pen. That thing was bigger then Anthony’s HEAD!

— comment by Marcina on March 16th, 2009 at 12:25pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Those are the Chinese grapefruits…. My mom used to buy them… That is their typical size.

— comment by John on March 16th, 2009 at 11:11pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Pomelo is grapefruit is Spanish so I guess it’s a borrowed word – not necessarily helpful in narrowing down what it is! 🙂

— comment by Sylvia on March 18th, 2009 at 12:34am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Paraphrasing the New RHS Dictionary of Gardening, Pomelo (or pummelo) is Citrus maxima, also known as shaddock. It grows to 15cm diameter, to 8kg in wieght, and is characterised by the very thick skin. It is one parent of the grapefruit, Citrus x paradisi, the other being the sweet orange, C. sinensis. Confusion arises from pomelo being used as a common name for grapefruit, too. Wikipedia has a little more about it.

Did you mean 25cm or 35cm (or 15 inch)? I think mine was larger than 15cm diameter…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Peter on March 18th, 2009 at 6:20pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

That book said “to 15cm”, but I must say it’s hard to relate that to 8kg! Another book, the European Garden Flora, also says to 8kg, but diameter greater than 20cm; a Japanese tree and shrub book says 18cm, 1-2kg; another says 15-21cm. I expect it all depends which shop it comes from…

— comment by Peter on March 19th, 2009 at 12:40am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

There’s one good trick to help peeling the white skin of pomelo. After removing that thick part and you have only some of that white skin over pomelo is to rip it to four peaces and let it dry out for 10minutes or so. The white skin dry and it’s much easier to remove.

— comment by Teemu on March 31st, 2009 at 6:36pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

We bought two of these giant yellow “things” in Sarasota, Fl in Feb. 2011. These taste is so wonderful and not as tart as regular grapefruit. Also, the meat is pink in the one’s that we had. I could eat them all day long. The best test ever, but, I do not know where to find them here in our stores. I live in Enola, PA. Very near Harrisburg, PA. Have been trying to locate them on the internet since I came back from Florida a week ago. Thanks so much for sharing your information about them.

— comment by Janice on February 24th, 2011 at 4:34am JST (6 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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