Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Honeybells are here!

Every year my friend Jean sends us a big box of honeybells. What? You're not familiar with honeybells? You're not alone. Most people I know have never had one. When they come to our house and are offered one, they are astounded by the sheer awesomeness that is the honeybell. Getting that package every year is like summer in January. Which, consequently is just what it feels like outside today, where we already surpassed 60 degrees in my side yard. I KNOW! In January. In Massachusetts. And weirder yet, it's not even a record temperature.

So anyhow, back to the honeybell. In December we get a card in the mail wishing us happy holidays and telling us that the honeybells are coming. From that moment on, we look out for the UPS guy with sharpened eyes and knives. We love our honeybells.

Usually they arrive in some freezing cold day when it's snowing and the sky is dreary gray. Yup, happened this year, too. They came a few days ago when the temp was oh, maybe 10 degrees in the sun. But there wasn't any sun, so strike that.

The second the arrive I attack the package with a knife and pull out a honeybell. I slice it up, slurp it down, and sigh with happiness. Just like a trip to Orlando only without the rides, the stupid theme restaurants, and screaming kids. Plain Florida sunshine goodness.

So, you want to know what honeybells are? Oh, they're a magical fruit. They look somewhat like an orange. Or maybe a tangelo. They have a pittum (a belly button pooper outer top) like an etrog. But they're not an orange or a tangelo. They're a hybred of a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit. Both of those are seeded fruits, but honeybells are seedless about 80% of the time. Sometimes the bees make a bit of a mistake and seeds happen.

Honeybells are only available once a year, for 4 weeks in January. Once they're gone, they're gone until next year. Which makes them rare and hard to find. They don't sell them in regular stores. You have to order from from Cushmans, and they ship them to your home.

Honeybells are really juicy. I mean really really juicy. How juicy? Well, they send you bibs with the box. And when they say that you should wear the bib, they're not exaggerating. They are incredibly juicy. The juice runs down your chin, your arms, your elbows, and your plate contains a juice pool on the bottom. Of course you must drink the juice from the plate. That's part of the honeybell experience.

We cut them up into small chunks because it's actually easier to keep dry when you can slurp the entire chunk into your mouth at one time. But most people just quarter them and hope for the best.

If you've never had honeybells, you're really missing out on something special. But they're already gone for this year, so you need to order yours for next January. They make a great gift. I can't even begin to tell you how much our family looks forward this box of juicy goodness every year. Don't you wish Jean was YOUR friend?

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Blogger Jo said...

For the last 10 years Mom has bought us a winters worth of Hale groves. We ADORE and seriously await th honeybells!
Nov and Dec were navels, I am so excited to hear that january's order will be honeybells.
We squoze them all into juice and what a fine divine juice it is.

8/1/08 7:21 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

What a fantastic present! I am making a note of this one for next year, definitely. Thanks!

8/1/08 7:51 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Mmmm...and they didn't suffer from the recent freeze?! Lucky you!

8/1/08 10:03 PM  
Blogger Shash said...

Honeybells are delicious, and believe me there is more to Orlando than the theme parks. I know, I grew up here and live here again since 2000. We have many attractions that are part of our history, our culture, and have no singing mice or ducks....

except for the real kind.


9/1/08 4:11 PM  
OpenID tennisnoise said...

It's almost time for honeybells again. Can't wait. After reading your post last year I am anticipating the arrival of them this year. I ordered them from http://www.halegroves.com this year and they are supposed to ship the first week of January. I hope everything you say about them is true. I can't wait.

15/12/08 6:03 PM  

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