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The Jamaican Tangelo
The UGLI Fruit, Explored

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jamaican_tangeloThe Jamaican Tangelo (Ugli Fruit) | IG Photo Credit: caffinatedvegan

Jamaican Tangelo - What Is This Fruit?
By Deon Clarke | Associate Writer 

The first time I heard of this fruit, I was thinking “what on earth is that”.  Only to find out that it is the same thing I came to know as the “Ugli” fruit.

I remember as a child growing up in St. Elizabeth, how fascinating it was, the first time I saw this fruit. To me it was like an extra large tangerine but looking like an orange on the outside but tangerine-looking on the inside and sweeter than expected. 

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We used to get them from our cousins in the neighboring parish of Manchester and I felt very special as these fruits were very unique to our area.  So what exactly is the ugli fruit?

Let’s take a look at the origin of this unique fruit.

Where Did The Jamaican Tangelo Come From?

The Jamaican tangelo is actually a citrus fruit that originated right here in Jamaica through a natural process of the hybridization of some popular citrus fruits. 

It is believed to have been derived from the families of the tangerine fruit and the Seville orange fruit or possibly the grapefruit (pomelo).

Hence, the name tangelo. This is a seasonal fruit and is most popular between the months of December and April.

What Does An Ugli Fruit Tastes Like?

As you can see by now, the ugli fruit is like a large tangerine. To me it tastes like a cross between an orange and a tangerine.

However, to give a better description, you could say that it has a very juicy flesh  tasting more sweet like a tangerine and less bitter than the grapefruit while being a bit sourer than an orange. 

Why Is It Called Ugli Fruit?

So why is it called the ugli fruit you may ask?  As you can imagine, it’s appearance is not as comely as that of its parents. Yeah, it’s kind of ugly.

Shaping like a tear drop, it’s like the “black sheep” of the family with its rough, crinkled greenish yellowish skin that encapsulates the tangerine-like flesh, thus making it ugly and hence the name “ugli”. 

The name Jamaican tangelo certainly does it a bit more justice, don’t you think?

How Do You Eat Jamaican Ugli Fruit?

Ready to try it?  Great! But, how do you eat it? It's actually pretty easy to eat, no pun intended :-)

As a matter of fact it’s even easier to peel than some other citrus fruits due to its rough texture: all you have to do is to peel it whether by hand or knife and once that is done, you can just separate the sections just as you would with a tangerine or an orange; then, enjoy. 

You can also cut the fruit in half and eat it with a spoon if you’d like.  Be mindful of the seeds however, though they are far less in number than what’s typically in an orange.

It also makes a delicious drink whether virgin or non- virgin so be sure that give that a shot as well.

Are Tangelos Good For Weight Loss?

Great question! The Jamaican tangelo has several health benefits especially since it is loaded with vitamins and minerals!

Half of a tangelo could provide you with almost a full day’s worth of your Vitamin C requirements! 

It’s low calorie content makes it a perfect snack and can therefore contribute to weight loss. It is also rich in fiber which helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Eating citrus fruits on a whole, including the tangelo, reduces the risk of obesity and overweight. So yes, the tangelos are definitely a great weight-loss option. 

The Ugli Truth

So you see; the Jamaican tangelo or the ugli fruit, despite its look, is not only remarkably delicious, but also has many health benefits, so try it nuh?

See also: What Fruits Do They Eat In Jamaica?

WATCH VIDEO: See Emmy's Review Of The Jamaican Tangelo (Ugli Fruit)

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