Fruit of the Week! The Sumo Orange

Wondering what the best orange in the world is? It’s the Sumo Orange. Hands down.  It’s the sweetest, most delicious orange around.


If you know anything about me, you know I taste the fruit in the produce aisle. I eat it.   Smell it and chew it and swallow it into my belly.   All the while enduring the glances of people who dare to judge me.   The people judging me often have permanently pinched faces and look like they always abide by rules but mostly when it’s to their benefit.   You know the type.   So I take their scorn with a grain of salt. And a mouthful of grapes.

If the stolen fruit passes the taste test, it goes into my cart, if not … I keep wandering until I find something I like.

You don’t have this problem with potatoes.  Potatoes always taste exactly like potatoes.  But fruit is different. The only time fruit tastes exactly like it did the last time you bought it, is when it’s Froot Loops.

For the most part I only do taste testing with fruit you don’t have to peel, although last week I did crack open a pea pod to see if the peas inside were worth buying.  They were.

So when I went to the grocery store yesterday I was flummoxed.  They had a fruit I’d never seen before and I wanted to buy it, but it was protected by the thickest peel I’d ever seen.  Peeling this jumbo thing in the middle of the produce aisle would attract about as much attention as if I peeled my own clothes off.  So I did what anyone confused by a piece of fruit in the produce aisle does. I stared at it.  I picked it up and looked at it, then put it back. Then I stared at it some more.

Turns out this sort of spastic behaviour attracts as much attention as getting naked.  After about 2 minutes of this back and forth between me and the orange,  the produce manager came lumbering over  with a huge grin on his face and proclaimed the Sumo orange I was looking at to be the most delicious orange in the world.  That’s a bold statement.

He followed his bold statement with an even bolder move.  The produce manager grabbed the orange, peeled it and handed it over to me.  To taste!  Free of charge.    He was acting suspiciously like a “pusher”.  Against my better judgement I tried it.

It was pretty stinkin good.  I  bought 2 of them and plan on going back fore more.  Just like that I’m hooked.  It is …

The Sumo Orange

The Sumo Mandarin was developed in Japan and is basically a cross between a Satsuma Mandarin and a California Navel Orange.  After 30 years of development in Japan it’s now in North American grocery stores for about $2 – $2.50 each.  That’s a pricey orange, which of course, is why I  was struggling over whether to buy it or not.  Well, that and the fact that I’m crazy.

It peels like a dream.

It’s seedless.

Its sections break apart easily.

It’s sweet, delicious and juicy without being messy.

Plus it looks cool in a fruit bowl.

The moral of this story?

1.  Ignore people who scorn you.

2.  People who push fruit aren’t nearly as dangerous as people who push drugs.

3.  Chances are if you don’t mention a fruit looks like a nipple, people won’t notice.


  1. chris says:

    David Karp the fruit detective on Dekopans (Mandarin/Orange hybrid). 13 years looking for this fruit.

    The Dekopon arrives in California

  2. Sheila says:

    I’ve been on the hunt ever since seeing this post. Saw the Minneola tangerines at Super Target and since they looked just like the ones in your picture I snagged several to the tune of .79 each. Not too bad. But when I looked them up they defintely aren’t the same fruit but they do peel so nicely! I can almost peel the entire skin off in one piece. So sad that life has come down to how an orange peels. Ha!

    • Karen says:

      Sheila – LOL. I’ve always loved the “simple” things in life. Although I have no tolerance for stupid people. Everyone seems to think they know this orange, but by another name. I’m having a hard time convincing everyone that it only came out this month. It is a NEVER BEFORE seen fruit! I know this sounds bold, but ask your produce manager about them. Seek him/her out and build a friendship. You’ll be surprised at what happens. I … for instance … received free lemons this week! 🙂 ~ karen

  3. Jen A says:

    That’s not just any nipple. It’s a sumo nipple. :’o

  4. Allison says:

    We love these oranges! However, they are referred to as “minneola oranges” where I have purchased them.

    Between these and clementines I can’t stand regular oranges anymore!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison! Actually, these aren’t Minneola oranges. They look similar, but the Sumo is a *brand new* type of orange only released into society for the very first time this month. They have a similar look! Give the Sumo a shot if you find one in your grocery store. They’re available for the next couple of months. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Allison! Oh! An easy way to recognize the Sumo is it’s the size of my head. LOL. ~ karen

  5. Chau says:

    Check out the Asian Markets. These tangerines are always available around Chinese New Year (late January-mid February) and the price is much cheaper.

    • Karen says:

      Chau – Like I mentioned to someone else … they’re probably just look alike oranges. These were only made commercially available in North America this month. 🙂 ~ karen

  6. Pam says:

    It’s not Friday!

  7. Jeanette Schnell says:

    Nice pics Karen!!

  8. kasia says:

    OMG, a nipple! Hadn’t noticed at all! And I just bought a purse with all these funky folds of leather on one side, kind of like a flower, and my husband said it looks like a nipple… I can’t look at the purse the same anymore! Anyway, he really really likes the purse… maybe I should get some of this fruit for him!

  9. Evalyn says:

    Ana, you may want to give up grapes – sounds very stressful.

    I am not bold enough to eat more than a grape, although I think sampling should be allowed – there’ just too much unripe, tasteless fruit out there.

    I go by smell. No matter how pretty the strawberries or peaches are, if I can’t smell them when I walk by, they aren’t ripe enough to eat.

    I’ve seen the Sumo Oranges on the market in Oregon – they are really tastey.

  10. Ana says:

    I always want to try grapes before I buy them, but I’m terrified of spiders! A friend of a friend (the most reliable resource ever, as everyone knows) worked at the produce section of a grocery store and he said there were often spiders in the bags of grapes because they use spiders to ward off nastier pests at the vineyard (or wherever grapes come from) and sometimes they get packed up in the crates along with the grapes.

    So every time I buy grapes, I double bag them and when I get home, I toss them in the sink and scream bloody murder when I have to reach in and clip some for a snack. I wish I was kidding! I once threw a whole sack of grapes across the dining room because I thought a spider had touched me. Turns out it was a leaf.

    Does anyone know if this is true??

    • Amy says:

      OMG its true!!!

      My husband will be THRILLED that his spider checking duties will be extended to produce now. *shudder*

      • Susan says:

        Given how much fruit is handled once it goes in store (depending on the effeciency of the Produce Dept)I think its reasonable to assume that most spiders would be shaken off before they hit the shelves.

        The hubby always found spiders at work in the produce boxes, something he delighted in telling me thanks to my serious case of arachniphobia, but the real culprit was the bananas.

        He said he was more worried about them creaping out while they sorted through the boxes and working their way back to the other departments storage. People tend to check their fruit over pretty well before buying but who ever checks their pack of bulk buy paper towels or trash bag box for tears in the plastic or borrows in the cardboard.

        Maybe he was just being a meanie and trying to play up my fear for his amusement or maybe he was honest. Either way, he’s in charge of grocery shopping now.

  11. Karen,
    Totally unrelated comment to this post but didn’t you attempt to make a wall display using yarn not so long ago? You must check out this link:

    you’re welcome 😉

    • Karen says:

      Canuck! Someone else mentioned that string art! It’s great! Not what I had in mind, but great! I was thinking more “arty” and abstract. Anyhoooo I’ve given up on it because I wanted to just do something quick and easy. Turns out in this case, quick and easy is also blech and ugly. ~ karen

  12. bex pow says:

    Some useless info… but in south africa we call them Naatjies. yep.. exactly the same thing 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Bex pow – Do you mean a Naatjie is the same as a mandarin? I’m not *positive* but I don’t think you’re talking about the Sumo orange. The Sumo is different than a mandarin and has only become commercially available around the world this month. It’s brand spanking new! So unless you’ve just seen it in the last month, it’s probably not the same thing. ~ karen 🙂

      • bex pow says:

        gosh… now Im unsure 🙂 haha! will have to go look in our local fruit and veg city. Then again, anything that looks like a orange but isnt a orange still gets called a naatjie 😉 (weird)
        Will be a fun find for sure! cheers ~bex

  13. Jennifer says:

    So true about the Froot Loops! The produce dept. at my grocery store offers samples of some of the ‘pickier’ fruits (oranges, grapes, etc.) — cut up and placed under a little plastic dome to try before you buy. I never try it; not sure how long it’s been sitting there. Like your PMs ‘peel n eat’ technique much better. Hoping sumos are available in AZ…

  14. Trysha says:

    If you don’t talk to your kids about fruit, who will?

    (I totally didn’t even think nipple until you pointed it out and now my inner-prude is coming out and I can’t look at the orange directly)

  15. Susan says:

    Karen, I nearly died laughing when you said the PM boldly allowed you to sample the literal fruits of his labours. I’d told my hubby (an ex produce manager)about your sampling habits and he climbed up on his produce box, adorably outraged on your behalf. Apparently you have a good produce department if the ast PM and PM are quick to offer and encourage you to sample because that means they stand behind their product.

    He had a lot more to say on the subject after that but I tunned him out. But I did hear enough to know that if you’re serious about your fruit and veg, I’d go back and make friends with the PM.

    • Karen says:

      Susan – I think the produce manager and I are already friends from that one encounter. He promised me when I came back we’d try something else! I’m pretty sure he meant a fruit or vegetable. Not a trip to the amusement park or something. ~ karen

  16. Elise says:

    It also looks like an outtie belly button.

  17. Yummy! Off to the grocery store today to try one.

  18. sue says:

    How smart the produce manager was to give you a sample. Fruit is very hard to buy and when there is a new fruit, how do you know if you got a good one? I love peaches but I have gotten my share of pithy ones and imagine, if the first time I ate a peach and it was pithy, would I want another? Fruit is a variable; sometimes it is great, good or AWFUL…

    Funny about pinched faces, they are everywhere. I have found that they seem to be in supervisory positions…hmmmm

    • Pam'a says:

      I completely agree. And how nice that your produce person actually KNEW something about said fruit, Karen!

      I am reminded of the time I encountered a Jazz apple and asked the produce KID what they taste like. He hemmed and hawed for a while, and I finally said, “If you don’t know, it’s okay to tell me you don’t know…” He didn’t. And I still haven’t tasted one.

      • vanessa says:

        i know it’s been a long time since you posted this comment, but i gotta say – i hope you’ve tried a jazz apple since then! they are AMAZING. and so consistently good too! they’re crisp and more sour than sweet, but not as sour as a granny smith. YUM

  19. pve says:

    If only you were born in my family – My Dad began “Paul’s Fruit Market” in 1945 and it is still going strong. My Dad loves customers who taste the fruit and buy the fruit….too! You just cannot touch the fruit in Europe, they frown on that type of rude American behavior. No squeezing the Charmin either.
    Great images!

  20. Dieu says:

    was it at a whole foods or something? I’m in LA and I read about these a while ago and have been dyyyying to try them.

    • Karen says:

      Dieu – Nope, it wasn’t in Whole Foods. Just a regular, ole’ grocery store. Granted, it’s a fairly large grocery store … but. Keep looking you’ll see them any minute now I would think. You could either buy them individually or in a case. Good luck. ~ karen!

    • eric says:

      You can find theses Sumo oranges in Whole Foods as well. I work at one and these recently came in. I was instantly hooked. I sampled these out to any passing customers, turning them on to a new and strange looking fruit. Enjoy!!

  21. Bobbie says:

    OMG… first it’s nipple lights on the ceiling in my hallway… and now I’ve been exposed to nipple fruit… Will I ever recover? Well, you DID promise us porno, didn’t you!!? Or is it…?

  22. BCBev says:

    My mouth is squirting as much saliva as that orange did when ya peeled it.

    (No, this is not my contribution to the porn.)

    Gawd I love them Sumo Oranges! I just a) don’t let boyfriend see the receipt or b) develop a taste for them. Cause I can only feed one habit.

  23. kim says:

    The first thing I was thinking when I saw this was wow that looks like a nipple! Glad to see I wasn’t the only one.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Kim – Aren’t you that jerk that likes math? LOL. Yup. The big nipple orange. Honestly … worth every penny. A delicious piece of fruit. ~ karen

  24. Amie says:

    I always choose my mandarins based on how thick and wrinkly the skin is. This method hasn’t failed me yet in the quest for sweet juicy mandies.

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