Don’t let the name fool you. Or, actually more pertinent, don’t judge the citrus by its cover.
Officially, the variety of citrus is known as the Jamaican tangelo. But, it’s more widely known as Ugli Fruit — for good reason.
With its dimpled, rough, discolored skin, Ugli fruit is just that, only with a “y” at the end.
However, Bill Schaefer, vice president of marketing for Fresh King Inc., Homestead, Fla., urges consumers to look beyond the skin.
Take a moment to peel back the skin to the fruit below, and you just might find somewhat of a buried treasure of goodness, he said.
“It takes on all the characteristics of tangerines and tangelos,” said Schaefer, whose company is the exclusive representative for Ugli fruit in the U.S. “There are no seeds, a juicy flavor. The only difference is that the skin is gnarly, thick and ugly. But it’s just a tangelo in a zipper skin.”
Ugli fruit is only grown in Jamaica, Schaefer said, because the tree on which the fruit grows, the budwood, is protected by that country’s government and not allowed to be exported.
Schaefer added that Ugli fruit was a good alternative for grapefruit lovers who can’t eat that commodity because of high blood pressure.
Grapefruit contains compounds that inhibit an enzyme in the small intestine that breaks down and absorbs medications.
Ugli fruit contains no such compounds, while harboring many of the same taste qualities and nutrition benefits as grapefruit.
“It has good qualities for people who can’t eat grapefruit because of high blood pressure; they can eat Ugli fruit,” Schaefer said.
“We ship in the neighborhood of 75,000 cartons a year. It’s definitely a specialty item. It’s considered a different type of fruit. But it’s a sweet fruit, no acid, no seeds.”
Schaefer said Fresh King’s supply of Ugli fruit ranges in all sizes, from 10s to 56s.