Giant lemons

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For the past three years that I have been living in Sacramento I have often discovered giant lemons all around the streets of Sac town. Friday afternoon a local of Sacramento had my answer to where they come from.

Just as I was leaving a Sac Press sticker near some giant lemons I came across on H and 13th, I saw a man watching me from nearby. We got to talking and I told him of my fascination with these mysterious giant lemons. 

He explained to me that they are a cross breed of lemons and grapefruits. I have actually cut one open before, and the inside is the size of a normal lemon but the rind is four inches thick.

Turns out that my now good friend Curtis, who was telling me all this information, actually had one of these trees growing in his back yard.  He gave me a short tour and was even kind enough to let me snap a quick photo of him.

Curtis cured my fascination and even provided me with a gift, my very own giant lemon. I decided when I got back to the office later that day that it would be my token of appreciation to Nicholas for allowing me to participate in this amazing company.

The story become even more exciting, when today my inbox contained a humorous email with the picture of the giant lemon – now possessing a personality.

  • William Burg

    yeah, my next door neighbor has one of those growing in his backyard, it spills over into mine and periodically drops a giant lemon bomb. they’re great for fans of rind. Due to the various citrus fruit all around the central city cross-pollinating with each other, there are all sorts of mutant citrus floating around, most of which are barely worth squeezing over some fish.

  • Ben Ilfeld

    My friend keeps talking about a pamello, what is a pamello?

  • Actually, I experienced this phenomenon with my dwarf lemon tree just this year. My tree is not a hybrid that I know of and its never produced this size of lemon in the past. Its been seriously neglected, though. The drip line has been removed by my 17 mo. old and I often forget to water it. It looks pretty sad. But this year, miraculously, it produced about 12 grapefruit sized lemons. I thought this was really great until I cut one open and was disappointed to see the smaller innards of the lemon with just a very thick rind.

    ~ k
    chief imagination officer

  • Dale Kooyman

    I am so glad to hear that there are several of you out there who appreciate our citrus trees. There is a grapefruit tree behind my property in my neighbor’s yard, over hanging two other properties.

    For over the 30 years I’ve lived here, I’ve been repeatedly amazed how the lucky tenants of those properties turn up their noses at picking them off the tree or retrieving them as soon as they fall off and hit the ground. Too sour and bitter, they say. In fact home-grown, fresh off-the-tree grapefruits are not at all sour–a sweet/sour to my taste buds, The flavor is not matched by any grapefruit one can purchase in a store–which are often sour and bitter. The size of these grapefruit varies from year to year depending on rain the prior year, so they are small this year.

    As you may know rats, squirrels and raccoons munch on grapefruit green or ripe. One of these three will hollow out one or more perfectly so that when I pick up the fallen grapefruit, nothing is left but a shell. But the hole through which they work their magic is not visible until I turn it over to see why it weighs so little. Their precision is amazing–they are getting more than their quota of rutin and Vitamin C for sure.

    Squirrels also find other uses. Earlier this year when the grapefruit were beginning to form, roofers were replacing the roof under one of the over hanging branches. As I worked in my backyard, I heard the roofers laughing and shouting. When I looked up I saw them gesturing to a squirrel in the branch over them. Then I saw what the noise was about. A squirrel was scolding and twisting off a tiny green grapefruit one by one and lopping them down at the roofers. We guessed the intent was to “scare off” the roofers who were “threatening” what the squirrel perceived as its “territory.”

  • Sarah Berg

    Ben- They are apparently called pomelo and are a giant grapefruit. It is apparently the largest of the citrus fruits.

    Dale- That is awesome information and such an entertaining story about the overprotective squirrel.

    I am glad i am not the only one who has noticed these.

  • David Watts Barton

    Great job, Sarah! I particularly like the variety of photos to illustrate the story. Keep ’em coming!


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