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What is an Oroblanco?

By S. N. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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The oroblanco (Citrus paradisi × C. maxima) is a cross between a white grapefruit and a pomelo. This hybrid was developed and patented in 1958 by the University of California at Riverside.

The oroblanco, whose name means “white gold” in Spanish, looks like a small pummelo or a large, slightly flattened grapefruit. Its rind may be bright green-yellow even when fully ripe. The rind of late-season oroblancos tends to take on more of a golden yellow hue. The oroblanco’s rind is thicker than that of a grapefruit and it is easy to remove.

The flesh of the oroblanco, pulled apart and eaten in sections like an orange, is pale yellow and nearly seedless. In flavor, it closely resembles a grapefruit, but it is less acidic and lacks much of the grapefruit’s characteristic bitterness. The oroblanco is juicy and quite sweet. Those who are accustomed to sugaring their breakfast grapefruit may find the addition of sugar unnecessary with this fruit. In Japan, among other locales, the oroblanco is known as a “sweetie” for this reason.

The oroblanco is currently cultivated mainly in California and, to a lesser extent, in Australia. The fruit requires less heat to ripen to sweetness than a typical grapefruit does. Due to this fact, oroblancos can be cultivated in areas that would be unsuitable for traditional grapefruit, which require substantial heat.

Because the oroblanco is still fairly uncommon and is not yet widely cultivated, it is a relatively expensive fruit. For this reason, ardent fans of the oroblanco might find it especially advantageous to cultivate their own tree. Dwarf trees may be ordered from nurseries and grown successfully in pots indoors.

When choosing an oroblanco at the market, look for an unblemished fruit that is bright greenish yellow or golden yellow, with a fresh, citrusy fragrance. The oroblanco can be stored for a week at room temperature, or for two to four weeks in the refrigerator.

Although the oroblanco is generally prized for eating straight out of its peel, it may be used as any other grapefruit in recipes. Toss cubes of fresh mango, avocado, and oroblanco sections in a chilled salad bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice, 1 generous tablespoon (20 g) honey, ¼ teaspoon grated lime zest, and ¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger. Whisk together to form dressing. Drizzle dressing over fruit in bowl and toss gently to coat. Serve on lettuce-lined salad plates and garnish with fresh raspberries or toasted sliced almonds, if desired.

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Discussion Comments

By LisaLou — On Nov 27, 2011

@Mykol - If you have a hard time finding this fruit in your area, you might try buying this citrus tree from a nursery and planting it in a big pot indoors.

I bought a small tree from an online nursery and thought it would be a fun thing to try. My tree keeps growing, but I have not had any fruit yet. I have only had it for about a year though, so am trying to be patient.

If you were able to buy a bigger tree, you probably wouldn't have to wait as long to get some fruit.

Just thinking about it makes my mouth start watering for some of this delicious fruit. My daughter lives in California, and is able to eat this fruit on a regular basis.

Even though it costs more than buying grapefruit, it is worth paying a few cents more once in awhile to enjoy the sweet, citrus taste.

By Mykol — On Nov 26, 2011

The first time I tried some oroblanco it was mixed in with some other fresh fruit. There was some oroblanco, grapefruit, honeydew and fresh oranges. I was pretty sure I would like it since I enjoy both grapefruit and pummelo.

I don't usually sweeten my grapefruit when I eat it for breakfast, and was surprised at how sweet the oroblanco tasted.

This was tasty enough that it would be just as good eaten by itself.

I don't live in a very warm climate, and have not seen any around here in the store. The first time I do, I will be buying some, as I would love to enjoy this fruit more often.

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