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Seminole tangelos are small to medium in size, averaging eight centimeters in diameter, and are globular to ovate in shape. The thin rind is smooth, shiny, and leathery, pocked with prominent oil glands, and ranges in color from orange to red-orange. The rind is also somewhat adhered to the orange flesh, which is juicy, tender, and divided into 10-13 segments by thin membranes. The flesh may be seedless or contain many inedible seeds depending on cultivation habits. Seminole tangelos are aromatic and have a sweet flavor mixed with a tart acidity.
Seminole tangelos are available in the fall through winter and in select regions, the fruits may also be available into the spring.
Seminole tangelos, botanically a part of the Citrus genus, are uniformly-shaped, hybrid fruits that grow on evergreen trees and are members of the Rutaceae family. A somewhat rare variety, Seminole tangelos are often overshadowed by the minneola or Orlando tangelo, varieties that share the same parents as the Seminole, and is named after an Indian tribe and city known as Seminole in Florida. Seminole tangelos are a late-season fruit that is favored for its easy-to-grow nature, high yields, sweet-tart flavor, and is considered a commercial dessert and juicing cultivar.
Seminole tangelos are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of calcium and fiber. These vitamins can help protect the overall health of the body, especially against colds and flues.
Seminole tangelos are best suited for fresh eating and juicing. The ovate fruits can be peeled and consumed as a snack, served as a breakfast item, sliced as a healthy dessert, or tossed into fruit bowls and green salads. Seminole tangelos are also popularly juiced and can be mixed into cocktails, smoothies, or sparkling water. Seminole tangelos pair well with spinach, endive, pineapple, pistachios, and beets, and the juice can be used to marinade meats such as pork, poultry, and fish. The fruits will keep up to two weeks when loosely stored in a paper or plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In New Zealand, Seminole tangelos were initially intended for use as a juicing fruit, but the variety has also become a favorite tree planted by home gardeners for fresh eating. Seminole tangelos have very tender flesh and are favored for their sweet-tart flavor in salads and fruit bowls. The trees also yield high amounts of fruit, giving them ornamental qualities and may produce multiple crops per year in select climates. In addition to fresh eating, Seminole tangelos have become a popular fruit to package in decorative boxes and can be given to friends and family as gifts.
Seminole tangelos were released in 1931 by the United States Department of Agriculture and Dr. W.T. Swingle at a test station in Orlando, Florida. Believed to be a hybrid from a cross between the dancy tangerine and duncan grapefruit, Seminole tangelos were introduced to Japan in 1955 and later introduced to New Zealand by Dr. Harold Mouat. Today Seminole tangelos can be found at local markets and in home gardens in Japan, New Zealand, and in Florida of the United States.