20 March 2013

Hallabong (한라봉), the Sweetest Orange

IMG_4815 - edited 

Some of the sweetest oranges you'll try, Hallabong oranges, a specialty of Jeju Island in South Korea, are a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds.

IMG_4812 - edited

Look for the characteristic, funky bump surrounding the stem.  I wonder what makes the orange's bump?

IMG_4813 - edited

These oranges are in season from winter through early spring, so I'm seeing a lot of them here in Korea right now.  After harvesting, the oranges are sometimes held back from the market for a time, allowing the acidity levels to fall and the sugars to develop until a desired flavor profile is attained.

IMG_4814 - edited 

They peel so easily!  Which is a good thing--a really good thing--if you are the hostess preparing fruits at the end of the meal, working under the watchful eyes of your guests.  I'm no expert in actual fruit preparation, but I have learned that here in Korea, the way you prepare and present fruits in front of others, especially your elders and (potential) in-laws, is filled with meaning!  One of my next goals in life is to master the art of cutting and peeling fruits the Korean way...yep.

 IMG_4816 - edited

In Korea, these are grown primarily on Halla Mountain, or Hallasan (한라산), from which the oranges get their name.

IMG_4817 - edited

Keep on the lookout for these Hallabong oranges--are they available outside of Korea and Japan (there they are called dekopon)?  In any case, don't forget your vitamin C; we're just coming out of winter and it's important to stay healthy!