Remember when your mom fed you a half grapefruit for breakfast or the 1980s Grapefruit Diet? If yes, then you might have memories of this tropical citrus fruit’s slightly bitter taste. Grapefruit is usually about the size of a softball or larger and usually has a yellow skin. It’s the flesh that can fluctuate, depending on the variety, between yellowish-white, pink, or deep ruby red. The white variety is usually smaller and tarter than the pink. Pleasantly, some grapefruits are seedless.
Tart and tangy with a fundamental sweetness, grapefruit has a juiciness that challenges the ever popular orange and proclaims many of the same health promoting benefits.
Fresh grapefruits are available year-round, although their focus is mainly in the winter. Arizona and California’s growing season is January through August, while Florida and Texas’ harvest begins in October and lasts through June. The months known for the best taste are February, March and April at the peak of sugar content.
As with most citrus fruits, grapefruits should feel firm and heavy for their size. Interestingly, thinner-skinned fruits are usually more juicy. Avoid fruits that seem to have lost their freshness, having soft or wet spots or obviously damaged.
Grapefruits ripen when picked. Store unwashed, loosely in the cool room temperature of your garage during the winter, or in the refrigerator. This should keep them fresh for at least one week and up to one month.
Bring to room temperature for about 20 minutes to regain juiciness. Rinse. Roll the fruit individually between your palm and the countertop for a few seconds to prepare the juices. Peel, section fruit or cut in half and scoop out flesh from segments. Squeeze fruit for juice. Peeling is awkward, so it is common to cut in half and scoop out sections with a spoon.
Before peeling To ease the removal of the pith, drop the whole grapefruit in boiling water. Remove from heat and let sit for four minutes. Peel.
While grapefruits are often served cut in half to be eaten raw or juiced, they are occasionally sliced and grilled as a side dish to serve with an entrée. Due to its assertive flavour, grapefruit sections or pieces is recommended more favourably for fruit salads and used in desserts.
Quick & Easy Suggestions
- For quick dessert, simply dot with brown sugar and broil.
- Combine grapefruit segments, sliced cooked chicken and strips of red pepper with sliced cucumber. Toss with cream poppyseed dressing and serve on a bed of baby spinach.
High in vitamin C (common among citrus fruits), potassium, and folate. A good source of the phytochemicals limonoids. While eating a whole orange is better for us than the squeezed juice, drink a small glass (remember it’s quite high in natural sugars), to gain a good source of antioxidants that can help inhibit certain types of cancer cell growth. Full of antioxidants! Red Grapefruit has more lycopene (colour means antioxidants!). Studies are showing that grapefruit may reduce insulin levels, which helps to combat our carbohydrate driven society. Therefore, it allows our bodies to work more efficiently.
Grapefruit (sections; raw, pink and red), 1 cup (230g)
Total Fat: 0.23g
*Good source of: Vitamin C (79mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
- The name, grapefruit, comes from the fact that this fruit grows in clusters, like grapes.
- Globally, about half the grapefruit crop are used for juice.
- Research indicates that eating grapefruit might help to reduce the risk of diabetes. It appears that eating grapefruit is associated with weight loss and those obese patients with metabolic syndrome respond to both grapefruit juice and grapefruit, reducing levels of insulin and glucose. It is believed that enzymes in grapefruit affect the way the body deals with sugar and make it less likely to become fat. Although it is not its main function, insulin, a hormone, assists in the way the body metabolises fat. That is, insulin levels increase less after meals in the grapefruit eaters. This may help the body to use food for energy more efficiently and reduce the amount stored as fat – an encouraging study for the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
- Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is the most recent offspring of the Citrus family – a family prone to hybridization – appearing in the West Indies in the 18th century. Likened to the sweet orange and pomelo, grapefruit are a large, round citrus fruit.. First mentioned by a European writer in the mid-18th century as a “forbidden fruit” grown in Barbados, then one hundred years later, a French nobleman described this smaller version of the West Indian pomelo. In 1823, he planted the tree in Florida and was introduced to citrus growers. However, the fruit didn’t really take off until after WWI, when sophisticated New Yorkers began to appreciate its tart flavour as a breakfast food. It then spread to Texas and California, and abroad to Argentina, Israel and South Africa, which are all now major grapefruit producers.