The Minneola tangelo is a specific hybrid citrus fruit that is made by crossing the Duncan or Bowen grapefruit and the “Darcy” variety of tangerine, also called a mandarin orange. The cross was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture, in Florida, and was first released for sale in 1931. The fruit combines the sweetness of the mandarin with the tart flavors of the grapefruit, and it is highly prized for its juiciness and combination of sweet/sour flavors.
As tangelos go, the Minneola tends to be pretty large and is usually bell or pear-shaped. Diameter of the fruit averages about 3 inches (7.62 cm), though some can grow a bit larger. The peel is somewhat thin, but like most tangelos and mandarin oranges, it is pretty easy to peel. Many people like the fact that the fruit doesn’t have very many seeds, usually about ten on average, so they’re easy to avoid.
In the US, the Minneola tangelo tends to prosper best in mild climates like Florida, and the tree fruits from December to February. When consumers are looking for fresh fruit in the winter, citrus fruits tend to be the best bet because they are normally harvested at this time. The trees that produce this tangelo don’t tend to fruit very well if left alone. On commercial farms, they’re often planted with other mandarin orange or tangelo trees that will help create more cross-pollination and better overall crop.
Even with cross pollination efforts and locating the trees near others that provide needed cross pollination, the fruit can sometimes have disappointingly low yields that is not always explainable. Some years, shoppers will find bumper crops of the citrus fruit, and other years, they’ll pay relatively high prices to get them. Because of this unpredictability, they’re not the most profitable fruit to grow, since a low yielding year, even with higher prices, may still mean fewer profits. They are one of the most commonly grown tangelo types, however.
Since Minneola tangelos have such a burst of both sweet and sour flavors, they’re excellent for use in a variety of dishes, though people can make a good argument for simply peeling and eating them. Cooks can add them to either fruit or green salads, and they’ll be delicious when dressed with most vinaigrette dressings. They can also top focaccia, be used in marinades, or grilled. Tangelos provide a delicious way to add that sunny summer feel back into the diet, even when the weather outside is gloomy or cold.