October 31, 2018
The Jaffa™ Sweetie is a unique, grapefruit-like citrus fruit grown exclusively in Israel that has become a sensation in Asia, especially Japan. Also referred to as an Israel sweetie, pomelit, or sweetie grapefruit, it is similar to the American oroblanco variety often grown in California – but has it’s own distinct flavor profile that is complex, yet approachable. With their unique taste and vibrant color, Jaffa™ Sweeties are delicious on their own or in any holiday recipe where a bracing but sweet citrus component is called for.
The Jaffa™ Sweetie was first developed by Israeli growers in 1984. Like the oroblanco variety, the Jaffa™ Sweetie is the result of a natural cross between a sweet, less-acidic pomelo and a seedy grapefruit, bringing together the best of both cultiavars. This variety is still primarily grown in Israel and marketed under the Jaffa™ label.
Taste & Texture
The fruit’s shape, texture, and juiciness closely resemble a grapefruit, but its taste varies from sweet to mild, more reminiscent of a pomelo than your typical grapefruit. Like the pomelo, it does not have excessive acidity, and can be enjoyed even by people with a sensitivity to grapefruit’s tartness. Its flesh is yellow in color, with a refreshing citrusy scent. There are often a few large seeds that are easy to remove. They have a dense pith and distinctive green-tinted rind even when fully mature (although it can turn yellow if left on the tree long enough!). It can be eaten and enjoyed anywhere along this spectrum from green to yellow-colored.
Jaffa™ Sweeties are available from Israel from mid-fall through April.
The Sweetie is low in calories ranging from 24 to 40 per fruit. The sweetness is not because of excess sugar, but a lack of acid, so luckily, it is a relatively low-sugar fruit! Studies have shown them to lower blood cholesterol and increase antioxidant activity with their consumers.
Storage & Handling
Choose fruit with a smooth green-tinted skin and citrusy scent. The fruit should be heavy and somewhat soft when pressed. Like with most citrus, it is important to keep Sweeties in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated location – ideally around 54-57 °F. If peeled or cut, wrap the fruit in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator, using within 3-4 days.
Tip: The fruit will be juicier and sweeter if you return it to room temperature before serving.
The Jaffa™ Sweetie can be used similarly to a grapefruit or an oroblanco. Peel the rind of the Jaffa™ sweetie the same way you peel a pomelo. Use a sharp knife to cut an X in the top of the fruit, make sure that you cut all the way through the thick rind. Then peel the rind off in large slices and use your hands to pull the fruit apart so that you have two halves with exposed flesh. Pull each lobe of flesh away from the white pith and enjoy. Jaffa™ Sweeties are most commonly enjoyed raw but they can also be incorporated into cooked applications being used in both savory and sweet preparations. Incorporate into salads and Asian cuisines or juiced into cocktails and frozen desserts.
Fruit, Grapefruit, Jaffa™ Sweetie, Citrus