Are you ready for your Trese Klase? Roughly translated to “13 types,” the annual new year's practice in the Philippines requires collecting 13 different types of round fruit — one for each month of the new year plus one in the next — and putting them on the family table to be eaten on New Year's Day. Even with our round-fruit rich orchards, it can be a hard order to fill, but the Oro Blanco is always at the top of the list. And not just because it is one of the biggest citrus fruit on the planet.
This large cannonball of a fruit has a softer side. The pillowy pith is what gives the fruit most of its girth, measuring an inch or more thick all around the flesh inside. Without it, the Oro Blanco, a pomelo-grapefruit cross, might be considered one of the smaller of the grapefruit family. But it's still one of the most pleasant tasting. K&K Ranch has an ample supply between now and just past the new year, but if you're in a rush, you'll be able to snag them on Sunday morning at the Hollywood Farmers Market. Yes, they'll be open and ready to help you get 2012 off to a fresh start.
The Oro Blanco is a light and sweet grapefruit and can have white or ruby pink flesh. The juice arils are sturdy and pull away from the wedge easily, making it an easy fresh topping for salads and fish. The rind makes a thick and meaty marmalade as the pith transforms into a sugar sponge under the high heat of a good jam session. But fresh is really best, especially with a sprinkle of good quality sea salt.
Sean Laughlin, grandson of K&K Ranch owner June Kashima and the regular Hollywood market stand manager, says they have seven trees of the Oro Blanco, but likes the Mellow Gold grapefruit they have better.
“The Mellow Gold is mellow,” Laughlin says. “It's not as sweet as the Oro Blanco. More like a traditional grapefruit. It's kind of limey. The Oro Blanco means white gold and it has less aftertaste. People who don't like that grapefruit bite usually love the Oro Blanco.”