The Mysterious Honeybell Gift Box
|Honeybells -- by the boxload.|
When he came home, I told him someone sent him fruit. We opened the box to find no gift card, no sender name (on box or inside). "Someone sent you grapefruit? But we live in Florida," I said.
"Must be Stanley," my husband replied. Stanley is his stepfather, who lives in Pennsylvania. Each year, we send him oranges or something else tropical as a friendly reminder that he has to shovel snow and we don't.
Turns out, they aren't grapefruits at all. The three dozen oversized fruits are Honeybells, a seedless hybrid of Dancy tangerines and Duncan grapefruits. These natural mutants were discovered in 1945 by a farmer who sold the first batch to Ed Cushman, who ran a gift shop and fruit packing plant in West Palm Beach. Cushman started selling the strange fruit, which is harvested only once a year, in December and January.
Although Honeybells are part grapefruit and grafted onto sour orange tree stock, they're extremely sweet, seedless, and juicy. Very, very juicy.
|Hey, that's one juicy fruit!|
The taste is that of an orange on steroids -- and no hint of grapefruit (which actually would have been welcome).
So, we have about two dozen more Honeybells to go. And they're large. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do with them (besides the obvious juicing and eating), please let me know.
Oh, and turns out they weren't a present from my husband's stepfather and the sender remains a mystery. So if you recently gifted our household with a box of Honeybells -- thank you for the mystery fruit!
If you want to try some Honeybells yourself, the Cushman family still sells them from their gift shop in West Palm Beach, or you can order them online. But hurry -- it's already January.
Cushman's, 3325 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-965-3535.
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