How to Eat a HoneyBell

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Apr 20, 2013

“A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.”
Henry Ward Beecher

During the past Christmas season, Evie and I received a notice from the Harry and David Fruit of the Month Club that dear friends Gerry and Carolyn Hindy had signed us up for three months of fresh fruit deliveries. In the month of January we received a box of delicious Royal Riviera Pears. 

When the February box arrived we couldn’t wait to open it. There carefully packaged were a dozen HoneyBell oranges. And, included inside the box was a set of instructions on "How To Eat A HoneyBell." A quick glance at the instructions let me know I was going to enjoy the words of Harry and David as much as the fruit. And, I was not disappointed. 

The flyer from Harry and David says this about HoneyBells, “A cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit, this extraordinary citrus is bright and snappy with a citrus tang, honey-sweet flavor, and incredibly juicy. Available for only a short time during the winter harvest, HoneyBells have the distinction of being the world’s only limited edition fruit. Genuine HoneyBells can be recognized by their characteristic bell shape and bright orange color.”

I also learned that HoneyBells “grow close to the trunk and have a thicker skin and almost always have the characteristic ‘bell’ on top.”  Those that grow toward the outside end of the limb often have thinner skin and often don’t have the "bell." 

About 80% of the HoneyBells are seedless. But if some have seeds, the material said “blame the bees (we are not making this up).”  Apparently, the honeybees pick up pollen from the seeded varieties of oranges and grapefruit growing in nearby groves and carry it to the HoneyBells and seeds are the result. 

I had to laugh as I continued reading, “We’ve had long talks with the bees about this. We’ve even tried to sign no-seed treaties with them. We’ve gone so far as to have the birds talk to the bees, but sometimes … well, you know how the birds and the bees are … luckily the seeds don’t change the delectable sweetness and extraordinary juiciness of your unforgettable HoneyBells.”

As with any purchased citrus fruit from a local grocery store, we were informed to keep the fruit refrigerated, wash it first, and eat it in 7-10 days. Several serving suggestions were given: Juice as you would an orange and serve chilled. Dip peeled sections in melted dark chocolate. Place on wax paper and sprinkle with coarse sugar immediately. Chill until firm. Peel and add sections to salads. They even included some salad recipes. 

But what I found most amusing were the instructions on “How To Eat A HoneyBell”:
1. Consider This … do you want to share your HoneyBells with others or will you be tempted to hide the box and keep it to yourself? But if you want to be a hero, go ahead and share (only a few, of course) with them. 

2. Locate Your Bib … Yes, they even included a bib (resembling a lobster bib). “If this is your first experience with the world’s only limited edition fruit, please note: the bib is not just a cute idea! The word juicy to describe HoneyBells is not an exaggeration.”   

3. Put On Your Bib and Dive In! “But wait, you think, is this dignified? How am I going to look? It doesn’t matter this time … wear it anyway. When HoneyBell juice is running down your chin and off your elbows, you’re grinning from ear to ear, you’ll be so glad you have your bib and happy too that life could be this good.”  

Yes, there really was a bib. No, I didn’t use it. Yes, they were juicy and delicious. No, I didn’t spill.  

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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