Memories must leave trails in the mind, quietly forgotten until a flavor or smell sends us barreling into the cobwebs woven across their path. I found myself remembering my grandfather today in the juicy sampling of a tangelo. He has been gone for years, yet this particular fruit delivered vivid recollections of him. There he was with his papery skin and bone-dry humor, mixing bloody mary's in his Florida kitchen. I regret not knowing him more before he passed. He was a remarkable man. He was a gracious host to his overwhelming family of children and grandchildren stuffing his home to the gills during holiday gatherings. He always mixed the drinks, and he always had a endless supply of tangelos.
The Minneola tangelo, also known as the Honeybell, is a hybrid crossed from the Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine, yielding exceptionally juicy fruit and electric orange skin. The bell shape distinguishes it easily from any other citrus. These fruits are unique due to their short season. Ripe only a few weeks out of the year, Honeybells are a rare treat.
Thanks to friends returning from a recent trip to the Sunshine State with a bag full, I was offered more than a succulent morsel; I bit into the unexpected gift of memory. A special flavor indeed.