What Is An Ugli Fruit?

ugli fruit photo

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Hey there! A few weeks ago, while doing research on another food, I came across a brief mention of ugli fruit. What? I had never heard of such a fruit.

Yep, my first thought was the same as yours. What? Is the fruit ugly? 🙂 And then my curiosity got the best of me and down the rabbit hole I went. And went. And went.

Needless to say, by the time I was done, I had notes on several other fruits that I’ll be sharing on the site in the near future.   

Let’s get started….

What is ugli fruit? 

The ugli fruit or Jamaican tangelo is a specialty citrus fruit that originated on the islands of Jamaica. It is a hybrid of an orange, a tangerine, and a grapefruit. 

My research revealed it the original Jamaican tangelo was thought to be a hybrid from the “Seville orange, the grapefruit and the tangerine families.”

Even though many people will refer to the Jamaican tangelo as ugli fruit, there is NO true ugli fruit!!!!! Rather, UGLI® is a proprietary name of a brand of Jamaican tangelos.

Why is it called ugli fruit?

UGLI®  is a registered trademark of Cabel Hall Citrus Limited. According to my online research, it appears the trademark name was a play on the word “ugly”, referring to the fruit’s ugly appearance.

What does ugli fruit look like?

Like many other citrus fruits, this brand of Jamaican tangelo’s flesh is orange and has segments separated by white pith. 

Compared to other citrus fruits, the outside of the ugli fruit is unusual, to say the least. It has a wrinkly, rough yellow-lime green-looking rind with blemishes that turn orange when the fruit is ripe. 

What does ugli fruit taste like?

The flesh is juicy like other citrus fruits. The fruit’s taste can range from a tangerine-lemon-tasting fruit to fruit with an orange-grapefruit-like taste. It is sweeter than a grapefruit but often tangier than an orange. 

How to eat ugli fruit

UGLI®  fruits and other Jamaican tangelos are delicious when eaten raw like other citrus fruits. Due to their juiciness, they are also excellent in other dishes such as fruit salads as well as both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

Where to buy UGLI® fruit?

This fruit is distributed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, and Scandanavia. It can be found in national chain supermarkets as well as specialty retailers. 

Final Thoughts From Kim

Even though these fruits are exotic, they are distributed widely in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Scandanavia. Because of this, they may not be available year-round but may prove to be a cost-effective treat for you when in season. 

Jamaican tangelos would make great snacks or may add an exotic twist to a fruit salad or salsa to accompany your Caribbean dishes. You could also try them in your morning juices or in your adult beverages!

When you try this exotic little gem, let me know what you think and how you used in your cost-effective kitchen!

Until next time…


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