In season from October until May, grapefruits are often ignored in favor of oranges and other citrus fruit. However, there are more things you can do with them than simply halving one for breakfast or squeezing out the juice. This fruit is part sweet and part tart, and offers various health benefits. They are rich in Vitamin C, and also a good source of copper, Vitamin A, pantothenic acid, potassium and fiber. Grapefruits are also believed to help protect against colon cancer, prevent kidney stones, and lower cholesterol. The fruit ranges in size from four to six inches in diameter. Some are seedless, others not.
Different Types of Grapefruit
Although they are categorized as white, pink or ruby, these descriptions only apply to their flesh, not their skin. The skin is either yellow, light greenish yellow or pinkish yellow. The "white" grapefruit has a yellow skin and is the most tart tasting, while "oro blanco" (meaning white gold) is a cross between a white grapefruit and a pomelo (another citrus fruit). The skin on an oro blanco is yellow or greenish yellow and the flesh is sweet. Pink grapefruits are tangy and sweet, while the red ones range from rather bitter to sweet. The red color comes from lycopene, an antioxidant thought to help fight cancer. These delicious fruits can be tossed with shrimp and avocado to make a tasty salad, or mixed with chiles and cilantro for a tangy salsa. Try adding grapefruit segments to your favorite salad recipe (fruit salad or savory salad) or swap your typical glass of OJ for some grapefruit juice.
This citrus fruit was discovered by Westerners in Barbados in the 1700s. Many botanists now believe the grapefruit was a natural cross between oranges and pomelos, a fruit introduced to Barbados from Indonesia about a century before. Pomelos are yellow or pale green and have a mellow-tasting flesh. They are similar to a grapefruit so can be substituted in many recipes. The fruit was named "grapefruit" in 1814 in Jamaica. The reason? They grow in clusters like bunches of grapes.
The first grapefruit trees in the United States were planted in Florida in the early 1800s but were not commercially viable until a few decades later. California, Arizona, Florida and our very own Texas all produce a lot of grapefruits. Our local subtropical climate, sunny weather and fertile soil provide excellent growing conditions, and Texan farmers maintain crop quality with the right growing conditions, extensive research and the best irrigation techniques. Grapefruits in Texas are tree-ripened and hand-picked, then area shippers inspect and grade the fruit before hand-packing it and sending it to grocery stores nationwide.
In a Starring Role at: Soto's Cantina
This Northwest Houston restaurant serves a grapefruit-and-avocado salad which you can enjoy with grilled chicken or shrimp. The dish pairs juicy grapefruit with creamy avocado over mixed greens and includes the crunchy addition of pine nuts. Follow up with a generous platter of nachos or fajitas, or a lighter bite like the portobello-and-spinach quesadillas, and consider sitting on the pleasant dining patio outside if the weather is nice.
Recipe: Turkey and Grapefruit Stir Fry
This quick and easy dish takes just minutes to prepare and combines the flavors of turkey, vegetables and fruit. The sweet sauce unites the neutral flavor of the meat with the other sweet, tangy flavors in the dish. Serve this over rice or egg noodles for an easy weeknight dinner for 2 or 3 people.
- 1 fresh ruby grapefruit
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pound chopped turkey breast
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 pound trimmed snow peas
- 2 diagonally sliced green onions
- Peel the grapefruit and divide it into segments, then chop each one in half, reserving the juice. Drain the pineapple chunks and mix the pineapple juice with the grapefruit juice. Add enough water to make the juice mixture up to 1 cup of liquid, then stir in the soy sauce and cornstarch.
- Stir fry the turkey and garlic in the oil in a wok for 5 minutes. Keep the heat quite high and stir often. Add the snow peas and green onions, and pour in the juice-cornstarch mixture.
- Cook, stirring often, until thickened, then stir in the pineapple chunks and grapefruit segments, and cook for 2 minutes or until everything is warmed through. Serve right away.