Minneola Tangelos - January and February
The Minneola Tangelo was the second attempt of a hybrid cross between a Dancy Tangerine and a Duncan Grapefruit made once again by W.T. Swingle of the U.S.D.A. Citrus Station in Orlando, Florida, this time in 1931. True-to-type Minneola fruit are characterized by a stem-end neck which tends to make the fruit appear pear- or bell-shaped. This appearance has given rise to the name “Honeybell” in the Florida gift fruit trade but the proper name remains Minneola in the produce trade. The fruit is typically quite large, averaging from 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 inches in diameter. The initial peel color is orange but at peak maturity achieves a bright reddish-orange color. The skin is relatively thin, smooth, and peels quite easy, similar to it’s tangerine parent. In Southwest Arizona, it is nearly seedless, from zero to two seeds per fruit. The flesh is very aromatic and juicy and while quite sweet at full maturity, the Minneola still retains a hint of tart grapefruit flavor. The fruit presents itself quite handsomely at retail and along with it’s excellent eating quality makes itself Arizona’s most sought after and special specialty fruit of the year.
Minneola Tangelos are commercially packed into Fancy and Choice grades. While the majority of minneolas are packed into a standard two-piece fiberboard carton holding approximately thirty-eight (38) to forty (40) pounds, minneolas are also packed into three and five pound bags and a consumer carton equivalent to approximately a quarter carton of minneolas. Commercial sizes of minneolas based on how many pieces of fruit are packed into the standard thirty-eight to forty pound carton include 36's, 40's, 48's, 56's, 64's, 80's, 100's, 125's, and 150's.