To bite into a Minneola tangelo is to taste the sun. Its flesh parts like jelly, tender and yielding. Its juice, as sweet as it is tart, is a lush deluge. I’d like to think this is as close as we can get to fruit from the Garden of Eden, or at least those oranges from the viral videos on TikTok. Before the Minneola tangelo, I had thought that I knew what good fruit was — but now, I am certain that I knew nothing.
I tried my first one earlier this year, plucked from a pile in a local Kroger. What was it about the fruit — a cross between a Dancy tangerine and a pomelo, I would later learn — that had caught my attention? Was it the bright orange color of the peel, the funny little nub protruding from one end, the more expensive price tag suggesting quality over all the regular navel oranges in the produce section? Yes, yes, and yes. I took one home and ate it over the kitchen sink, each slice a wonder. Rivulets of juice ran down my hands as I veritably inhaled the thing, barely stopping to catch my breath between bites. It felt like I was emerging from a daze by the time I finished the entire tangelo. I was enchanted, thunderstruck, enthralled: This was the best fruit I had ever tasted.
In my carelessness, I had failed to take notice of the name of the citrus. I tried in vain to find it again in the following months, cutting open Cara caras and Sumos only to be disappointed by the inferior flesh within. The fruit had disappeared from my Kroger, never to be stocked again — had it even existed in the first place, or had it all been a dream?
Months later, while browsing a newly opened neighborhood market in New York, I stopped in my tracks. The vibrant hue, the characteristic nipple at the neck… could it be…? I bought a bagful and hightailed it back to my apartment, where I proceeded to slice one open. I sank my teeth into a wedge, and I knew: Minneola tangelo, a name I would commit to heart. Once again over the kitchen sink, I ate hungrily, messily, thirstily, as if I had been parched for days. It was like taking a long swill of water, like catching a ray of light in my mouth. It tasted of paradise. 5/5 stars.