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In Season: Grapefruits

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Written by Sophia Markoulakis   
Friday, 15 January 2010

ImageIf my memory serves me right, my dad routinely served up grapefruit, halved and segmented with skill, the tender pieces of pulp cradled in their membrane with a glass waiting to squeeze every drop of juice from its shell. Bleary eyed and not fully awake, there was no better way to start the day than with the acidic punch of grapefruit in the morning.

How appropriate that grapefruit season peaks just when our bodies crave it most, at the start of a new year when recuperating from the holidays' indulgences and vowing a healthier lifestyle. Thankfully the grapefruit diet has fallen into the diet abyss with other dangerous diet trends, but there is no denying that the grapefruit is a healthy food to add to the morning (or anytime) meal.

Grapefruits proliferate in hot climates such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Southern California. And because they peak at different times of the year depending on their geographical location, we can enjoy them year round. But like any other fruit, they are at their sweetest when picked and enjoyed at their peak. Some say that pink grapefruit are sweeter than white and we can thank savvy breeders and marketers for that. Truth is, this pummelo and orange crossed-fruit will be sweet if its growing conditions are optimal for its specific variety. And there is no true way to determine if a grapefruit will be sweet before cutting into it and tasting it, so rely on your produce person or farmer for recommendations.

As far as pink varieties go, Rio Star and Ruby Sweet lead the pack. They're a reliable pick for sweetness and have the added benefit of the carotene lycopene. White varieties don't have this important antioxidant, but nevertheless contain more than 100% of one's daily dose of Vitamin C.
Some white varieties worth seeking out include:

  • Bloomsweet: This grapefruit has an oblong shape and is known to be very sweet.
  • Golden: This backyard variety has sweet orange-tinted pulp.
  • Oroblanco: A cross between a pummelo and yellow grapefruit and is less acidic than a traditional grapefruit.
  • Melogold: Related to the Oroblanco, but has thinner skin and matures later.
  • Cocktail: This smaller variety is a cross between a pummelo and a Frua mandarin and is known to be extremely sweet.

When selecting any grapefruit, choose specimens that feel plump and heavy for their size with glossy skin. Store at room temperature for up to a week and in the refrigerator for up to a month. Most varieties have overly bitter pith that requires removal. With little practice, peeling and segmenting a grapefruit can become second nature. To do so:

  • * Cut both ends off a grapefruit and place bottom side down on a cutting board. With a serrated or sharp paring knife, cut peel and pith off from top of fruit to bottom. Continue until all is removed.
  • * Invert and remove any peel and pith from other side.
  • * Hold the peeled fruit in one hand and cut in between the segments, staying as close to the dividing membrane as possible, only cutting to the center of the fruit. Dislodge the segment, set aside, and repeat. Collect any juice by segmenting over a bowl. Squeeze any excess juice out of the grapefruit and use in recipes or reserve for drinking.

Using grapefruit in the kitchen is twofold since their slightly floral fragrance is released when the fruit's peel is sliced or grated. The fresh palate cleansing flavor of grapefruit pairs well with fish and poultry and brightens the flavors of dressings and marinades. Grapefruit can also tame the heat of chiles and other powerful spices. The next time a recipe calls for a squeeze of lime or lemon juice, try substituting grapefruit juice instead. For measuring purposes, 1 medium grapefruit produces 2/3 cup juice and 10-12 sections.

Several of this month's recipe selections are perfect for those New Year's resolutions aimed at eating healthier. Some recipes, though, demonstrate how grapefruit can roll with the big guys like butter and cheese, adding a new dimension to traditional sauces and desserts. For me, the moderate approach is best. I'll have half a grapefruit for breakfast and enjoy it in my cake for dessert.

Sides and Salads

Roasted Beets with Tart Pink Grapefruit Glaze is a healthy way to eat your veggies and your fruit and would be great served with roast chicken.


Roasted Beets With Tart Pink Grapefruit Glaze

(Vegetarian Times, January/February, 2008)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:31 pm spm said:

A healthy way to eat your veggies and your fruit and would be great served with roast chicken.




Warm Avocado Halves with Pink Grapefruit and Endive is great because heating the avocado brings out its buttery flavors while being cut by the acidity of the grapefruit.

Warm Avocado Halves With Pink Grapefruit And Endive

(Vegetarian Times, March, 2009)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:32 pm spm said:

This is great because heating the avocado brings out its buttery flavors while being cut by the acidity of the grapefruit.




Warm Chicken Salad with Grapefruit is a fast and healthy salad incorporating pungent arugula with a pink peppercorn dressing and grapefruit segments.

Warm Chicken Salad With Grapefruit

(Washington Post, May, 2008)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:33 pm spm said:

A fast and healthy salad incorporating pungent arugula with a pink peppercorn dressing and grapefruit segments.




Main Dishes

Sole with Grapefruit Thyme Butter is reminiscent of the classic Sole Meuneire. Serve with toasted orzo and pine nuts.


Sole with Grapefruit-Thyme Butter

(Coastal Living, January, 2007)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:32 pm spm said:

Reminiscent of the classic Sole Meuneire. Serve with toasted orzo and pine nuts.




Miso-Marinated Cod with Balsamic Vinegar and Grapefruit could be made with any meaty fish. A great recipe to try if you are unfamiliar with miso and its usefulness in the kitchen.

Miso-Marinated Cod With Balsamic Vinegar And Grapefruit

(Bon Appétit, September, 1997)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:34 pm spm said:

This could be made with any meaty fish. A great recipe to try if you are unfamiliar with miso and its usefulness in the kitchen.




Pan-Seared Chicken with Grapefruit Butter Sauce is simple and quick for a weeknight meal since the recipe includes side potatoes.

Pan-Seared Chicken with Grapefruit-Butter Sauce

(Every Day with Rachael Ray, June/July, 2009)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:34 pm spm said:

Simple and quick for a weeknight meal since the recipe includes side potatoes.




Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa is a refreshing way to enjoy grapefruit, pairing perfectly with the anise flavors of fennel and the rich texture of halibut.

Roasted Halibut With Grapefruit Fennel Salsa

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On January 8, 2010, 10:35 pm spm said:

A refreshing way to enjoy grapefruit, pairing perfectly with the anise flavors of fennel and the rich texture of halibut.




Desserts

Ginger and Pink Grapefruit Cheesecake is decadent and refreshing at the same time thanks to the bright flavors of ginger and grapefruit.


Ginger and Pink Grapefruit Cheesecake

(Bon Appétit, January, 2007)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:36 pm spm said:

Decadent and refreshing at the same time thanks to the bright flavors of ginger and grapefruit.




Grapefruit-Poppy Seed Loaf
is a traditional butter-rich loaf cake with the surprising flavor of grapefruit and is perfect for gift or hostess giving.

Grapefruit-Poppy Seed Loaf

(Every Day with Rachael Ray, June/July, 2009)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:36 pm spm said:

A traditional butter-rich loaf cake with the surprising flavor of grapefruit and is perfect for gift or hostess giving.



 
Grapefruit Tart takes full advantage of the grapefruit with the juice whipped into the mascarpone filling and the segments decorating the top.

Grapefruit Tart

(Gourmet, February, 2002)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:49 pm spm said:

This takes full advantage of the grapefruit with the juice whipped into the mascarpone filling and the segments decorating the top.




Ruby Red Grapefruit Sorbet has full-on grapefruit flavor and is the perfect ending to a rich meal.

Ruby-Red Grapefruit Sorbet

(Cooking Light, January, 1995)

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On January 8, 2010, 10:37 pm spm said:

Full-on grapefruit flavor - the perfect ending to a rich meal.


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