This year I was excited to find a Valentine Pummelo on one of my pummelo trees. This was the first that I had had from my own tree and I was quite curious to see how my fruit grown in California's Santa Clara Valley would taste compared to the Valentine Pummelos that I tasted last year from the Central Valley. Valentine is a recent introduction (2009) from the breeding program at UC Riverside and is a cross between a Siamese Sweet Pummelo and a hybrid of a Dancy Mandarin and a Ruby blood orange.
The tree from which I harvested the fruit is a Chandler Pummelo tree onto which I had grafted a Valentine Pummelo branch back in 2009 using the newly released budwood from California's Citrus Clonal Protection Program. I had low expectations for my Valentine Pummelo because the climate in the Santa Clara Valley is cooler than that in Southern California and that in the Central Valley. Also the Chandler pummelos from this tree have been far inferior to the Chandler pummelos that I have had from Southern California and the Central Valley; some friends disliked my Chandlers so much that they suggested that I cut down the tree.
Ripe on Valentine's Day
The Valentine pummelo acquired its name in part because it ripens around Valentine's day in Riverside, California, where it was bred and evaluated. I was not confident that it would be ripe by Valentine's day in the Santa Clara Valley, but we have had an unusually warm winter, so I decided to pick it on Valentine's day as a special surprise for my wife and my daughter.
Resembles a Heart
When ripe, the Valentine also resembles a heart when cut open. I was not sure that it would develop the red anthocyanin pigmentation in my cooler climate, though.
I was pleasantly surprised upon cutting and tasting my Valentine pummelo. The fruit had the beautiful red color and was sweet, juicy, and very delicious. We all loved it!
Easy to Peel
The fruit was very easy to peel. It was more like peeling a mandarin than a pummelo, a useful trait that must have been inherited from Valentine's grandparent, Dancy mandarin.
Membranes Easy to Remove
We ate sections of the fruit both with the membrane attached and also with the membrane removed. They were delicious both ways, but we preferred the sections with the membranes removed. It was much easier to remove the membranes of the Valentine pummelo than those of a typical pummelo.
Valentine Pummelo Can Be Messy
The only downside I found with the Valentine is that it was a bit messy to eat the way we ate it. It was so juicy that the red juice tended to drip.
In hindsight, I wish that I had topworked my entire Chandler pummelo tree to Valentine pummelo rather than grafting a single branch. Every Chandler pummelo harvested from this tree has been far inferior to the one Valentine pummelo picked so far.