No, I don’t mean overweight and absurdly strong Asian dudes wearing diapers. I’m talking about Sumo citrus, a special blend between a satsuma mandarin and a regular orange that’s only available for a short time this month. Sumos are essentially just giant satsuma tangerines, really easy to peel and almost entirely seedless. One of my favorite things about winter is that satsuma mandarins are available. Haven’t had a satsuma before? Then you’re really missing out – a little tart, not messy like regular oranges, and ridiculously addictive. Buy a bag of satsumas and they’ll be gone before the day is over, easily. Sumos are satsumas on steroids, more or less.
Here’s the official story about Sumos from their website:
In the 1970’s a citrus grower from the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan set out to develop a fruit which would combine the best of the easy-to-peel Japanese Satsuma with the big, juicy, sweet oranges from California. Although he saw promise in an obscure tangerine-orange hybrid, this new fruit was challenging to grow. Thankfully, our grower persevered. Over time, he developed a series of methods for growing, pruning and thinning his trees, which is different from all other citrus.
It took over 30 years but his hard work was rewarded when recently, this new variety became the most prized citrus fruit in Japan and Korea. Following the Japanese tradition of offering the best fruit as a gift, one can find it in Tokyo gift shops, selling for up to $8 for a single piece of fruit! Now this legendary fruit, which is called Dekopon in Japan and Hallabong in Korea, is finally available for the enjoyment of consumers here in America.
Grown on our families’ farms in California’s Central Valley to the same exacting standards of the original Kumamoto farmer. It is the biggest mandarin you’ve ever seen. It has a distinctive shape with a prominent “top-knot.” The peel is bright orange, bumpy and loose so it peels effortlessly. The delicate sections separate easily. It’s seedless, juicy without being messy, and it is quite probably the sweetest citrus you’ll ever eat.
Sumos are available nearly everywhere right now, especially in California of course. Good lord we are so lucky to have such incredible produce out here. Here’s a list of all the places Sumos are being sold right now. Go get them as soon as you can – they won’t last in grocery stores long.