Two ugli fruits, one with skin and one half peeled

Is Ugli Fruit Healthy? Everything you need to know about Jamaican Tangel

In the world of exotic fruits, there’s one peculiar gem that often goes unnoticed, hiding behind its unflattering name and gnarly exterior. Meet the Jamaican Tangelo, affectionately known as the “Ugli Fruit.” 

Don’t let its unappealing name fool you; beneath that rough, wrinkled skin lies a treasure trove of flavor and nutrition waiting to be discovered. 

Two ugli fruits, one with skin and one half peeled

In this article, I’ll peel back the layers of mystery surrounding this curious fruit and answer the burning question: Is Ugli Fruit healthy? Get ready to uncover the delicious secrets of this underrated citrus sensation.

What is Ugli Fruit?

Ugli fruit, also known as Jamaican tangelo, is a citrus fruit that originated on the island of Jamaica through the natural hybridization of a tangerine or orange with a grapefruit or pomelo. The original tree is believed to have been a hybrid formed from the Seville orange, the grapefruit, and the tangerine families.

The name “ugli,” which is a registered trademark, refers to the fruit’s unsightly appearance, with rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow rind, wrapped loosely around the orange pulpy citrus inside.

Ugli fruit resembles an orange as well as a grapefruit, but its taste is often described as sourer than an orange and less bitter than a grapefruit. It is more commonly guessed to be a lemon-tangerine hybrid.

Ugli fruit is seasonal from December to April. It is primarily grown in Jamaica, but it is also grown in the United States, Israel, and Italy.

What is the Nutritional Profile of Ugli Fruit

Ugli fruit cut in half

Ugli fruit is a good source of several essential nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. 

One half of an ugli fruit (about 100 grams) contains: 

  • 45-47 calories
  • 11-12 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 2 grams of fiber

It also contains almost a day’s worth of vitamin C, providing 42-90% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C. Additionally, ugli fruit is a good source of folate, calcium, and iron.

Health Benefits of Ugli Fruit

Ugli fruit can offer a variety of health benefits thanks to its rich nutrient profile. This fruit is particularly rich in vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient that supports the immune system, helps the body absorb iron, and acts as an antioxidant. 

It is also a good source of fiber, which promotes digestive health and helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

And as a good souce of potassium, ugli fruit may help in maintaining healthy blood pressure and heart function. Let’s take an in-depth look at the health benefits of this unique fruit.

Two ugli fruits

Boosting Immunity

The high vitamin C content in ugli fruit supports immune health by helping to stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals.

Several studies have shown that vitamin C can help boost immune function and reduce the severity and duration of respiratory infections, such as the common colds.

Digestive Health

Ugli fruit is an excellent source of fiber, which plays a crucial role in promoting digestive health. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, prevent constipation, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Heart Health

Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Ugli fruit is a good source of potassium, with one half of the fruit containing approximately 200-250 milligrams of potassium. 

Consuming foods that are high in potassium can help to counteract the effects of sodium on blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing hypertension.

Measuring Tape on Floor

Weight Management:

Ugli fruit is a low-calorie and low-fat fruit, making it a great option for those trying to manage their weight. One half of an ugli fruit contains approximately 45-47 calories and 0 grams of fat. Additionally, ugli fruit is a good source of fiber, which can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.

Several studies have shown that consuming fruits, including ugli fruit, can be beneficial for weight management. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that high school students who consumed more fruits and vegetables were more likely to engage in weight management behaviors, such as reducing calorie and fat intake. 

Another study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that consuming more fruits and vegetables was associated with greater weight loss in overweight and obese adults. 

These studies suggest that consuming ugli fruit, which is low in calories and high in fiber, may be beneficial for weight management.

How to eat ugli fruit:

Ugli fruit can be a great addition to your meal plan and a fun way to add more variety and flavor to your favorite dishes. Here are a few ways to add it to your plate: 

  • Ugli fruit and mixed berry smoothie: Blend ugli fruit, mixed berries, yogurt, and honey for a refreshing and healthy smoothie.
  • Ugli fruit and avocado salad: Combine sliced ugli fruit, diced avocado, mixed greens, and a citrus vinaigrette for a flavorful and nutritious salad.
  • Ugli fruit and shrimp stir-fry: Stir-fry ugli fruit, shrimp, bell peppers, and onions for a quick and easy meal that is high in protein and fiber.
  • Ugli fruit and yogurt parfait: Layer sliced ugli fruit, yogurt, granola, and honey for a delicious and healthy breakfast or snack.

Where to buy Ugli fruit

Farmers market

Ugli fruit can be purchased at a variety of retailers, both in-store and online. Here are some places where you can buy ugli fruit:


  • Local and national retailers such as Albertsons, Safeway, and Central Market carry ugli fruit in their produce sections.
  • Specialty fruit dealers and retailers may also carry ugli fruit.


  • Online grocery delivery services such as Instacart offer ugli fruit for delivery or pickup from local and national retailers.
  • Exotic Fruits Cambridge offers fresh or frozen ugli fruit for purchase online.

How to store ugli fruit

To store ugli fruit and keep them fresh for longer, follow these tips:

  1. Store ugli fruit at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  2. To extend shelf life, refrigerate ugli fruit in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Check the fruit daily to ensure it is not turning sour or developing soft spots.
  4. If you want to freeze ugli fruit, wash and peel it, then divide the fruit into portions and freeze.
  5. After harvesting, store ugli fruit in a cool, dry, and dark place to help it last longer.

Overall, ugli fruit can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It is important to check the fruit daily to ensure it is not turning sour or developing soft spots. If you want to freeze ugli fruit, wash and peel it before dividing it into portions and freezing.

Potential Side Effects and Allergies

Although ulgi fruit can be rich in nutrition and offer a variety of health beenfits, there are a few populations who should avoid this fruit.

  • People who are allergic to citrus fruits may also be allergic to ugli fruit. Symptoms of a citrus fruit allergy can include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
  • I Ugli fruit may interact with certain medications, such as blood pressure medications and statins. People taking these medications should consult with their healthcare provider before consuming ugli fruit.

It is important to note that while ugli fruit is generally safe and nutritious, some people may experience allergic reactions or interactions with medications. If you have concerns about consuming ugli fruit or have a history of citrus fruit allergies, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional before adding ugli fruit to your diet.

The bottom line on Ugli fruit and your health

Peeled ugli fruit close-up

Ugli fruit is a nutritious addition to any diet. It is a good source of several essential nutrients and can help support immune health, promote digestive health, maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and aid in weight management.

As a versatile ingredient, it that can be used in a variety of recipes, from sweet to savory. Whether you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option or a flavorful side dish, ugli fruit is a great choice.

As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about consuming ugli fruit.

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