If you love tangerines but could do without all the seeds, consider the tangelo.

Tangelos were discovered in Southeast Asia some 3,000 years ago, thought to be the product of accidental cross-breeding between tangerines and pomelos, the plus-size cousin of the grapefruit. With relatively few seeds, the citrus fruit was not as fleshy as its progenitors but prized for its vibrant, sweet-tart juice.

The modern tangelo was born in Florida in the early 1900s, when federal citrus scientists tried crossing the tasty but seedy tangerine with grapefruit. Two varieties remain popular today: the Orlando, developed in 1911, and the Minneola, released in 1931. Both sport a distinctive knob, like an outie belly button, on the stem end.

Take advantage of them during tangelo season, which runs from November through March. Tangelos make a more fragrant substitute for oranges in recipes, including sauces, cakes, icings and marmalades.

Keep tangelos in a cool place or refrigerator drawer. Since condensation can hasten their spoilage, don’t leave them in a closed plastic bag. Like any citrus fruit, if refrigerated, let them warm to room temperature for best flavor if eating out of hand.

Here, tangelos replace the navel oranges in a rich, tangy glazed poundcake. If you can’t find tangelos, the original navel oranges will make an excellent cake as well.


Tangelo Glazed Poundcake

For cake:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons tangelo or

orange zest

5 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk

For glaze:

¼ cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup fresh tangelo or

orange juice, or more

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Cream butter and sugar with vanilla and tangelo or orange zest until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together twice cake flour, baking powder and salt (or just whisk it all together well). Add to creamed mixture a little at a time, alternating with milk, ending up with flour. Beat well after each addition. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until top of cake springs back when touched. Cool pan on wire rack for 2 minutes. Heat ingredients for glaze in saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over cake while still hot. Cool completely in pan.