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When the Buntan is mature, its smooth skin will be glossy with a light yellow hue. Its crisp flesh contains minimal juice and can be divided into twelve to sixteen segments. Its flavor is sweet, slightly bitter and mildly acidic. Its medium-thick rind is speckled with oil glands and is highly aromatic. The size of Buntan varies and can grow to over nine inches in diameter and four pounds in weight.
Buntan are available in the late fall and winter months.
The Buntan, also known as Zamboa, Shaddock, Citrus Maxima, Pummelo and Pomelo, is a member of the Rutaceae or Citrus family.
The Buntan is rich in vitamin C which can aid in prevention of colds and coughs help those recovering from fatigue. The white pith that covers the flesh of the fruit is high in pectin as well, which has been shown to help regulate the functions of the intestines in the human body.
The flesh of the Buntan can be segmented and added whole to fruit and green salads. The individual segments can also be peeled and pulled apart into small flecks of citrus and used in salads, stir fries, noodle preparations and lettuce wraps. It can also be cooked down and used to make jellies, jams and sauces. Its rind can be peeled and used to make candied citrus or tea. Its large size and thick rind also makes it perfect for halving and hollowing out to make an aromatic bowl or cup. Its flavor pairs well with ginger, radish, seafood, honey, cilantro, mango, avocado, poultry, scallions and toasted coconut.
Buntan are originally from Southeast Asia, South China and Taiwan and they came to Japan during the Edo period. Today they are mainly harvested in Kochi prefecture. There are about forty different varieties of Buntan in Japan such as Tosa buntan, Honda buntan, and Takaoka buntan. The name, buntan came from an actor having a beautiful buntan tree in his garden.