After much waiting, this weekend we picked Hirado Buntan and Sarawak pummelos. Boy #1 was very excited to finally pick the monster citrus we've been watching all year. After picking them, we brought them inside to weigh them on Dr. Wife's kitchen scale. The Sarawak weighed in at 2 lbs, 13.2 oz, Hirado Buntan weighed in at a whopping 3 lbs, 7.8 oz! The Hirado Buntan is a pink-fleshed pummelo, and the Sarawak is a yellow-green-fleshed fruit. After tasting the two, I think that the Hirado Buntan is still a few weeks a way from being at peak ripeness, but the Sarawak was phenomenal! While the Hirado Buntan was only mildly flavored, the Sarawak was bursting with an intense and juicy lime/melon flavor. After tasting it, I couldn't get that tree planted in the ground fast enough. I planted it near the 1,000-gallon rain tank where it should be protected from frosts and get full sun. With any luck I'll have tons of the massive fruit before too long.
I'm not counting out the Hirado Buntan. When Dr. Wife and I first went to John Panzarella's citrus tasting, we had the exact opposite experience. His Hirado Buntans tasted phenomenal, and his Sarawaks were mild and a little watery. This makes me think that the Hirado Buntan just ripens a little later than the Sarawak, which is fine with me, because that means a longer pummelo season. We're also planting a Chandler pummelo this year, and if I can get my hands on the budwood, I'll also be grafting the Mato Buntan and Reinking pummelos onto some other trees.
Pummelos are one of the ancestral varieties of citrus, from which all other citrus (oranges, grapefruits, etc.) originate, and unlike more modern citrus their seeds are nucellar (i.e. produce hybrids). Not being able to pass up the chance to discover a cool new variety, I planted some seeds from each fruit. I don't know what may have pollinated the fruit, but they could have easily crossed with any of the several different citrus varieties that are growing in my yard. You never know what you might get. I'll let you know in a couple of years.