Mapo: The hybrid citrus fruit of the Mediterranean
The citrus grove is one of the main resources of the Mediterranean, with a wide range of fruits that delight the palate and offer numerous health benefits. Among these citrus fruits is mapo, a hybrid fruit that combines the characteristics of mandarin and grapefruit. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about mapo, from its origin and cultivation to its nutritional value and uses in the kitchen.
1. Mapo: What is it
Mapo, also known as tangelo, is a hybrid fruit obtained by crossing a mandarin and a grapefruit. His name comes from the initial syllables of his parents' names, "MA" for mandarin and "PO" for grapefruit. This hybrid citrus fruit was created in Sicily in 1950 and has gained popularity for its pleasant flavor and nutritional properties.
Unlike other citrus fruits, the skin of mapo can appear unappealing, with a bright green or yellow-green color. However, a surprise is hidden inside: orange segments with a sweet and sour flavor similar to that of mandarin, but more delicate and sour.
2. Cultivation and Seasonality
Mapo is grown mainly in Sicily and Calabria, regions that offer an ideal climate for its growth. The plant requires a warm, not too humid habitat, with mild winters and temperatures between 0°C and 38°C. The ideal growing season is between 12°C and 30°C. The mapo harvest takes place in the early autumn-winter months, with availability more concentrated between October and January.
3. Health Benefits
Mapo is a fruit rich in health-protective substances. Its vitamin C has an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, helping to stimulate the immune system and prevent cardiovascular diseases. The flavonoids present in mapo also offer benefits for cardiovascular health, improving anti-hemolytic defenses and platelet function.
Furthermore, the vitamin C contained in mapo is essential for the synthesis of collagen, carnitine and other biochemical processes that promote tissue health and slow aging. Mapo has also been shown to have a gastroprotective effect, reducing gastric acidity and protecting the stomach lining.
4. Nutritional Values
Mapo is a low-calorie fruit, rich in water and fibre. It is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and B vitamins. Its chemical composition is similar to that of the fruits of the original plants, with slight differences in micronutrient concentrations. Mapo also contains phytochemicals such as flavonoids, carotenoids, limonoids and coumarins, which give the fruit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Uses in the Kitchen
Mapo lends itself to various uses in the kitchen. It can be eaten plain, added to salads to impart an interesting sweet and sour flavor, or used as a condiment in place of lemon. The mapo segments can also be used to decorate desserts and fruit salads. However, it is important to avoid cooking mapo, as vitamin C is heat-labile and sensitive to light. The fruit can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but it is best to store it in a cool place or in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.
6. Buying Guide
The mapo is available in the months between October and January, mainly in production regions such as Sicily and Calabria. When purchasing, it is important to choose fruits with a typical mapo colour, bright green with some yellow notes. The fruit must be turgid, firm but not hard or too soft. It is advisable to prefer mapo of Italian origin to guarantee quality and freshness.
7. How to Consume Mapo
Mapo is a versatile fruit that can be eaten naturally, without the need to be washed before consumption or special tools to be peeled or cut. It is appreciated by all age groups, from children to the elderly, for its sweet and sour flavour. It can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, or used to make drinks and fruit salads. It is important to consume mapo immediately if used for juices or smoothies, in order to best preserve its properties.
8. Mapo Essential Oil
Mapo essential oil is very rare, but can be used along with other plant oils to improve circulation and provide aromatherapy benefits. A few drops of mapo essential oil can be added to water to combat gum inflammation or bad breath problems. Furthermore, citrus essential oil is the main ingredient of a liqueur called "Mapo Mapo", which is suitable for the preparation of alcoholic cocktails.
9. Contraindications and Side Effects
No specific side effects related to the consumption of mapo have been found. However, it is always advisable to consume citrus fruits in moderation and pay attention to any personal allergies or intolerances. If you have any doubts or concerns, it is advisable to consult a doctor or health professional.
Mapo is a hybrid fruit that combines the characteristics of mandarin and grapefruit, offering a pleasant flavor and numerous health benefits. Rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, mapo is an excellent choice to enrich your diet and enjoy a genuine and healthy fruit. Whether eaten plain or used in cooking, mapo is a delicious and versatile addition to the Mediterranean table.
Buy mapo online with Frutt'it and discover all the taste and benefits of this unique fruit!