It’s Sumo Citrus season!

Image courtesy Sumo Citrus
Image courtesy Sumo Citrus /

January is not just the start of a new calendar year. It’s also the beginning of Sumo Citrus season!   What makes this fruit so special? They are the largest and sweetest of the mandarins. They are also super easy to peel, seedless and have a distinctive bump on the top of the fruit, which they call a Top Knot. And they’re only available from January through April.

Sumo Citrus originated in Japan and was imported to the US in 1998. In Japan, it’s nicknamed “dekopon” for the unique bump at its top. They are a hybrid of Satsuma, Orange, and Mandarin. This particular variety of mandarins are grown in the United States, only in the San Joaquin Valley in California.

This fruit is not easy to grow though and it takes up to four years for a tree to start producing fruit. Once ripe, the mandarins are hand-picked and hand-packed before heading to the market.

Enjoy Sumo Citrus while it is available for a limited time!

Winter is the time when we want to load up on all of the Vitamin C and these sweet mandarins are the perfect fruit to help us do so.

While delicious by itself, it can also be used in one of the many recipes featured on the Sumo Citrus blog. You can use the mandarins in salad dressing, Cranberry Sumo Citrus Scones and Sumo Citrus Olive Oil Cake. The mocktail recipe featured below is both a sweet and tart refreshing drink!

Sumo Citrus Grapefruit Mocktail 
(recipe courtesy of the Sumo Citrus Blog)

½ cup filtered water
¼ cup agave nectar
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 Sumo Citrus Mandarins
2/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice (1 to 2 grapefruits)
1 lemon
2 to 3 tbsp pure organic cane sugar
2 cups sparkling water

In a small saucepan, add filtered water. Bring to boil, then turn off heat. Stir in agave nectar until combined. Add 1 full sprig of thyme, including all the secondary smaller branches and stem. Stir and let cool completely.

Cut Sumo Citrus Mandarins across the middle and squeeze all juice out of 2 of them into a measuring jug with a spout, or cocktail shaker, for easy serving. Peel remaining Sumo Citrus mandarin and cut into chunks for garnish. Add fresh grapefruit juice to jug. Add juice of ½ the lemon into jug and stir. To rim glasses with sugar, cut remaining lemon in half and squeeze juice onto a small plate. On a second small plate, spread out the sugar. Dip rim of glasses into lemon juice, then into sugar. Cut remaining quarter of lemon into chunks for garnish.

Fill glasses ¾ full with ice cubes. Divide juice mixture equally between glasses. Add 1 to 3 tbsp agave mixture, to taste, into each glass. Top with up to 2 cups total sparkling water, dividing the sparkling water equally among glasses. Garnish with orange and lemon, and any remaining grapefruit can be sliced to garnish also. Add a sprig of thyme into each glass for garnish.

Next. Yobo_Kish: A new line of soju aperitifs from Chef Kristen Kish. dark

Sumo Citrus can be found in major grocery retailers throughout the country and retail for $3.99/pound. They are also sold in a 2lb bag for 5.99 and a 3lb bag for $9.99.