Ugli, the Fruit

With its lumpy peel and lopsided shape, the UGLI® is the ugly duckling of the citrus family. But don’t let appearances sway you. The ugli proves the adage: beauty is skin deep, ugly goes to the bone, or in this case, the core.

Peel back its yellow-green skin, which is soft and surprisingly easy to remove, and the ugli reveals several light pink pegs bursting with an unusual amount of sweet and slightly tangy juice and few, sometimes no seeds.

Ugli Fruit

The ugli is a cross between the Seville orange (which gives it its dimpled skin), the grapefruit (from which it derives its color), and the tangerine (from which it gets its loose skin), was developed by Jamaican agronomists.

Called ugli because of its appearance, the fruit was found growing wild near Browns Town in the parish of St. Ann about 90 years ago. A commercial variety was later developed. Ugli is registered under trademark and is exported to the US, UK, Canada, Scandinavia and some Eastern European countries.

The ugli has 45 calories, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 70% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.  It can last up to 6 days unrefrigerated, and a week or more in the refrigerator.

If you’re in Jamaica during the citrus season (November/December to April/May), you should ask to try the ugli. It’s not as common as its forebears and because of that, is typically more expensive.

On the other hand, you might be lucky to meet someone who’s got a tree or two in their backyard. I hope you get to try it.

Ugli is perfect for sweet and savory recipes. I’ve used it mainly in juices and fruit salads but I’d love to try this Ugli Duckling from

UGLI® Duckling

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  1. 4 - 4½ lb (1.8 - 2 kg) plump duck, fresh or thawed frozen
  2. A little salt
  3. 1 medium sized UGLI® tangelo
  4. 4 tbsp Cointreau
To garnish
  1. Small bunch watercress, washed and drained
  2. 6 - 8 potatoes
  1. Prick the duck all over with a fork. Rub a little salt into the duck skin and place on a trivet in a roasting pan.
  2. Roast for 1½ - 1¾ hours at 375 deg F (180 deg C) without basting.
  3. Meanwhile cut the skin including the pith off the UGLI® tangelo.
  4. Carefully slice the fruit into slices and cut in half. Gently poach the fruit in Cointreau for 4-5 minutes then pour the remaining juice over the duck when cooked on the serving plate.
  5. Garnish with fruit slices, watercress and Duchess or mashed potatoes.

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21 comments on “Ugli, the Fruit

  1. I’ve seen the fruit but I’ve never tried it. Next time I’m at the grocery store I’ll pick one up – the juice sounds delicious.

  2. Awesome..I have heard of the Ugli but don’t think I have ever tasted one. Where are the pics of its pink inside? Thanks for yet again introducing new and exotic flavors in your life!

  3. You do realize after all of these recipes I’ve been reading about for so long. That when I finally make it to Jamaica I’m going to make a list, buy the groceries, and then I want to cook a long list of them with you! I absolutely want to try this one, Marcia! 🙂

  4. Well, what do you know! The ugli even has it’s own website. 🙂 It is pretty strange-looking and I’ve heard of it before, but not sure if I’ve ever had it or not. It would be nice to pick one right off a tree in Jamaica.

  5. Haha, I love it’s name, how perfect! I’m always interested in trying local fruits that aren’t readily available at my local grocery store, so I would definitely give this a try!:-)

  6. Ugli sounds like a citrus fruit that I would love! I’m glad you wrote about it, because if I saw one I’d probably think it was a really ugly and deformed lemon.

  7. What an interesting fruit and name. I can’t believe it has its own website 🙂 I’ve never heard of it before and I’m not quite sure I’ve seen it. It sounds great and one I’d like to try especially freshly picked. I will be on the lookout for it now.

  8. It is quite interesting, Mary. I was surprised to find that out when I did the research — especially since it grows wild but I guess it’s possible to trademark anything. It’s quite delicious and very juicy, my mouth is watering just thinking about it now.

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