Lavender Gem Tangelos
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 01/18/23
Lavender Gem tangelos are small to medium fruits that have an obovate to globular shape with slightly flattened ends. The fruit’s surface ranges in color from golden yellow to orange and bears a glossy, leathery, and pebbled appearance, covered in prominent oil glands that release aromatic essential oils. Underneath the semi-thick rind, the flesh is divided into 11 to 12 segments by thin membranes and is tender, firm, and aqueous, encasing many round to oval, cream-colored seeds. The flesh also varies in color depending on the climate. In warmer regions, the flesh develops a light pink-purple flush, while in cooler climates, the flesh appears in amber, yellow, and ivory tones. Lavender Gem tangelos contain low acidity, creating a mild, sweet, and tangy flavor with fruity and floral notes. The peel is also considered to be less bitter than other citrus varieties with a subtly sweet taste.
Lavender Gem tangelos are available for a limited season in the mid to late winter through early spring.
Lavender Gem tangelos are a rare hybrid citrus variety belonging to the Rutaceae family. The golden fruits are similar in appearance to grapefruits but are generally smaller in size and grow on trees that reach 2 to 3 meters in height. Lavender Gem tangelos are a cross between an unknown grapefruit variety and a Sampson tangelo, a hybrid developed from a grapefruit and tangerine. This unusual parentage has led some growers to nickname the variety a tangelolo. Lavender Gem tangelos earned their lavender descriptor from the pink-purple flush found in the fruits when grown in warmer climates. The fruits are also known as Wekiwa tangelos and Pink tangelos in some farmer’s markets. The variety is not commercially cultivated and is challenging to find, mostly produced as a boutique or specialty citrus grown in limited quantities.
Lavender Gem tangelos are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, nutrients with antioxidant-like properties to boost the immune system, increase collagen production, and reduce inflammation. The fruits also contain potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, calcium to strengthen bones and teeth, fiber to stimulate the digestive tract, and magnesium to regulate blood pressure and nerve operations.
Lavender Gem tangelos have a sweet, subtly tart flavor best suited for fresh eating and flavoring culinary dishes. It is important to note that the flesh may contain a significant number of seeds, requiring the fruits to be laboriously deseeded or strained if juiced. The skin can be easily peeled from the flesh, and segmented, consumed straight, out-of-hand as a snack, or the wedges can be tossed into green salads, stirred into fruit bowls, chopped into salsa, or blended into smoothies. Lavender Gem tangelos can also be pressed for their juice and used to flavor marinades, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, and bright sauces. In addition to dressings, Lavender Gem tangelo juice can be mixed into cocktails, or it can be used to sweeten ceviche, incorporated into baked goods, or blended into custards and puddings. Lavender Gem tangelos can be used as a sweeter substitute in recipes calling for grapefruit and pair well with other fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, melons, coconuts, and bananas, herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary, ginger, and meats such as poultry, turkey, and fish. Whole Lavender Gem tangelos will keep for a couple of days at room temperature and 1 to 2 weeks when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Lavender Gem tangelos are most notably referenced in Pastry Chef Lindsey Shere’s book, Chez Panisse Desserts. The dessert-focused book was written in 1985 and emphasized focused ingredients and recipes that showcase the ingredient’s primary flavor. Many of the recipes in the book are desserts that Shere developed while working for Alice Waters at the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkley from 1971 to 1998. In her book, Shere favors the mild, sweet flavor of Lavender Gem tangelos and incorporates the rare fruits into a Lavender Gem sherbet.
Lavender Gem tangelos were believed by experts to have been developed in California sometime in the 1930s, but much of the variety’s history remains unknown. The boutique citrus was later introduced and grown in Florida in the 1980s, and in the present-day, the fruits are primarily cultivated in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. Lavender Gem tangelos can be found through farmer’s markets and specialty grocers in California and Florida.