Imagine the perfect piece of citrus — super easy to peel, extra juicy and amazingly sweet. Meet the Sumo Citrus, a special citrus variety that you can find in our Produce department for a limited time only each year. New to Sumo Citrus? This cult-favorite fruit, with its large size, bumpy orange skin and characteristic “top-knot” is tough to miss. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Sumo Citrus?
The Sumo Citrus was originally cultivated in Japan during the 1970s by a citrus grower on a mission to create the ultimate citrus — big, juicy-sweet and easy to peel. The result? A hybrid of the Satsuma, Navel and Mandarin orange varieties known as “Dekopon” in Japan. Did you know: The word “deko” translates to “bump.” After gaining a loyal following in Japan, the fruit made its way to grocery stores in the United States by 2011, where it was sold under the name “Sumo Citrus.”
Supplier Spotlight: Suntreat
Located in California’s San Joaquin valley, Suntreat works with farms to grow, pack and ship Sumo Citrus across the U.S. and to our stores. Because Sumo Citrus can be difficult to grow, Suntreat maintains strict standards to ensure the quality of the fruit that ends up in your basket. Some of these standards include:
Growing expertise: Sumo Citrus trees can take four years to produce fruit, so experienced farmers must care for and maintain them until they’re ready to be harvested.
Tested for quality: Fruits meet specific standards for size and taste before they can even be sold as Sumo Citrus. After they are picked, sugar and acid level are measured to guarantee consistency and flavor.
Handled with care: Because Sumo Citrus can bruise easily, they are picked, cleaned and packed into crates by hand before they are transported.
Outside of Sumo Citrus, Suntreat also grows and packs popular varieties such as Pummelo Grapefruit, Minneolas and Cara Cara oranges. Learn more about these varieties and others in our Ultimate Citrus Guide.
How to Store Sumo Citrus
Store Sumo Citrus in the refrigerator, preferably in the produce or crisper drawers. The humidity in this space is actually different than the rest of your fridge, and it helps to preserve the flavor and texture of your fruit.
How to Eat Sumo Citrus
Sumo Citrus is easiest to peel from their “top-knot.” Gently tear it away and the rest of the skin should peel off easily. Simply separate each segment and then take a bite — the flesh is seedless and it won’t make a sticky mess.
Our Favorite Ways to Enjoy Sumo Citrus
Sumo Citrus are delicious enjoyed as is, but there are endless ways to enjoy this versatile fruit. Check out these ideas for inspiration.
On-the-go snack: Packable and lunchbox-friendly, Sumo Citrus is an ideal snack for the office or school day. Tuck the segments into a colorful bento box alongside sliced veggies, salads and more.
In a yogurt or smoothie bowl: For a next-level breakfast or snack, cut Sumo Citrus segments into smaller pieces and add to Greek Yogurt with Honey and Thyme or our Vegan Smoothie Bowl (instead of grapefruit).
Better-for-you dessert: Instead of reaching for a piece of candy after dinner, try Sumo Citrus to satisfy a sweets craving.
Mixed into salads: Toss cut Sumo Citrus segments with leafy greens, toasted nuts, beets and goat cheese for a lunch salad or easy dinner side dish. Try them in: Beet Salad with Oranges and Romaine.
Zested for treats: Sumo Citrus zest can add a citrusy flavor to dessert recipes like cakes, cookies, pies and more. Swap the zest into your favorite recipes that use orange zest, such as this classic Strawberry Shortcake.
Ready to stock up? Visit the Produce department in your local Whole Foods Market store to get your hands on Sumo Citrus when it’s in season.