Have you heard of this giant misshapen orange? The Sumo orange is a cross between the sweet California orange and the easy-to–peel Japanese mandarin. It took over 30 years to perfect this new variety and it quickly became the favorite in Japan and Korea. In the last decade, these prized oranges have been grown exclusively in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Here’s a quick run down of what you need to know about the amazing Sumo.
Where did the name come from?
Well, it’s originally from Japan (like a Sumo wrestler), it’s larger than a normal orange (like a Sumo wrestler) and it has a “top bun” (like a Sumo wrestler).
What does it taste like?
They taste like the orange of my childhood. I grew up in Central Florida and our neighborhood was surrounded by orange groves. As kids, we climbed trees and swam in the lakes all Summer long, and we would pick oranges from the tree and eat them as we played. The Sumo has that sweet, juicy intense orange flavor that I remember not the typical dry, bland flavor of most grocery store oranges today.
What’s all the hype about peeling it?
Even if the flavor doesn’t wow you, the peeling experience will. It’s super easy to start the peel process because the skin is already slightly separated from the meat of the orange. So, it’s possible to peel the entire orange in a matter of seconds. The video below provides verification.
Are they priced like regular oranges?
Lol! These oranges can go for close to $3/pound whereas regular oranges are closer to $1.40/pound. But it turns out that the Sumo orange tree doesn’t bear fruit until after the 4th year so there’s growing costs that need to be recovered for these fruitless years and there’s only one facility in California that can grow these amazing oranges. Oh, and they’re popular. So, if you remember your Econ 101, high demand + limited supply= expensive. Last week, I think I spent close to $20 on oranges, but so so worth it.
But don’t let that deter you! You must try them! The season is coming to an end in the next few weeks so hurry. You can purchase them at Trader Joes, Central Market and Whole Foods. A full listing is here.
Let me know what you think.