In the 1970’s a citrus grower in Japan decided to develop a fruit combining the easy to peel Japanese Satsuma with the big, juicy, and super sweet oranges of California. It took over 30 years, but now this variety has become the most prized citrus fruit of Japan and Korea.
The Sumo Mandarin is named after those very cool, very big Japanese wrestlers with the distinct top-knot hairstyle. Although developed in Japan, Sumo’s are now grown on family farms throughout the San Joaquin Valley in California. Sumo Citrus trees are hand pruned, and fruit is hand thinned to maintain the optimum number of fruit, delivering the best possible flavor. Each piece of fruit is picked and packed by hand, in order to avoid damage and ensure the best quality.
The Sumo is large, easy to peel, seedless, juicy, and exceptionally sweet. If you gently squeeze it and the fruit gives a little, it means that the Sumo is at its best and ready to eat. Try to peel this fruit in one piece. It should be easy and is characteristic of this fruit with its bumpy and loose rind. The Sumo citrus has very little albedo or rag (the white part of the citrus) which allows the fruit to be divided by sections easily with less of the white “netting” sticking to the fruit. And since the membranes covering each segment are very thin, the fruit has little bitterness and is easier to eat. Sumos also lay claim to passing the “Eat in the Car Test” – the fruit is less sticky, and hands stay dry.
This healthy fruit is a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, and fiber. And it has no saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium. Try the Sumo anytime for a snack, in desserts, for breakfast, or in a salad.