What Is a Honeybell?
In the fruit world there are few fruits as sweet and juicy as the Honeybell. With its unique taste, namesake shape and its limited availability the Honeybell is a favorite among those who have tasted it.
What Is It
Honeybells are a hybrid fruit consisting of a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. The Duncan grapefruit and the Dancy tangerine are both known for their sweet taste and juiciness. Their natural hybrid cross has created the Honeybell. Both the tangerine and grapefruit have seeds, but the Honeybell is seedless. The official name of the Honeybell is Minneola Tangelo.
The Honeybell is not round like either a tangerine or grapefruit. Instead it bulges at one end forming a bell shape. With it's sweet taste and bell shape it has become known as the Honeybell.
Where They Grow
The Honeybell belongs to the citrus family and grows best in a warm sunny climate. It needs regular watering and plenty of room to grow. A moist, sandy soil with applications of fertilizer in March, June and October will provide the necessary conditions to set and produce the Honeybells. The areas of the United States that best fit this criteria are Florida, Arizona and California. The majority of Honeybell groves are in Florida.
When To Harvest
The Honeybell is known as the world's only "limited edition" fruit. It has a short harvest period, primarily the 31 days of January, with perhaps a few days earlier or later. Referred to as "self picking," Honeybells know when they are at their peak for harvesting. When ripe, the Honeybell gently drops off the tree indicating it is ready to be enjoyed.
Yellow dragon disease or citrus greening is a deadly, worldwide bacterial disease that will kill a tree once infected. Transmitted by tiny insects that feed on the tree leaves, it is spread from infected trees to healthy trees as the insect moves from tree to tree while feeding. After becoming infected, the tree will not show symptoms for approximately two years. The disease was first mentioned in agricultural records as a citrus disease in China in 1919, though it was believed to have been around for awhile. There is still no cure and the disease has become a serious threat to the citrus industry.