Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Strange Fruit in Neighbor's Yard

Our neighbor has this beautiful massive fruit growing in his front garden. A landscaper by trade, he also happens to be our landlord. Whenever I see him out trimming behind our building or in the neighborhood I pepper him with questions to practice Japanese, but also to learn whatever possible about the plants and trees around us.

I'd noticed the fruit pictured at left growing on his garden wall trailing just beneath a very nice rose, and asked about it. The stem is about as thick as my thumb with what look like rather viscious spines. The leaves look like what I consider the usual citrus: slightly oval, thick and a bit waxy, and dark green. It turns out, of course, that he doesn't know.

I suspect, based on my observations and his description of it, that it is a pumelo. The skin is very thick and it apparently has loads of seeds. The taste of the fruit, though, is where his description varies from the standard for pumelo. He says it's intensely sour, whereas everything I've come across so far says that the pumelo is sweeter than grapefruit. He's not offered me one yet, and while the idea has crossed my mind, I don't quite feel right simply snipping one off the vine in the dead of night. Thoughts?


Lindsay-Jean said...

I have to vote in favor of taking one in the night - in the name of research for your readers!

Anonymous said...

From my experience in Japan, if you admire something that someone else has, they will usually gift it to you, or give you one just like it.

Just tell your neighbor you've never had one, or that they're rare in the States. Maybe you'll get a gift :)


Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Both of those are great ideas. The votes, surprisingly, are to just sneak over and nab one. I almost did last night, but got distracted by a sushi invitation. I might see him today, and I'll see if I can't float the idea. Or, I'll just wait until it gets dark again!

Tricia from MLFB said...

Pummelos are available in the Ann Arbor Trader Joe's right now, and that was going to be my guess based on the picture! I bought one a few years ago, and iirc was not overly impressed, but then i wasn't getting it straight off a tree either!