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Grapefruit
 

Grapefruit or the Forbidened fruit of Barbados is a subtropical citrus tree. The tree is an evergreen tree, which grows to a height of about 5-6m, though they may also attain a height upto 13-15m also. The leaves of the tree are long and and thin and dark green in colour. It bears four petaled flowers, which are usually white in colour.

The grapefruit is an oblate fruit, which ranges in diameter from 10-15 cm. The skin is usually yellow-orange in colour and the flesh is segmented and acidic. The colour of the flesh varies as per the cultivars; it may have a white, pink and red colour.

 

A lesser known fruit, it became popular only in the 19th century, as earlier it was only considered an ornamental plant. USA became a major producer of the fruit, with a number of orchards in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. In Spain, the fruit is known as toronja or pomelo.

The grapefruit is tart and tangy with a subtle sweetness. The juiciness of the fruit is unparalleled, and even the ever popular orange is no competition to it. The flavor of the grapefruit is like paradise, as is expressed by its Latin name, Citrus paradisi. Though the fruit is available throughout the year, the best season for consuming the fruit is winter through early spring.

 

Grapefruit Varieties

  • The California and Arizona Variety: They are available all year round and mostly have a pink or red flesh. Some popular types in this variety include Ruby, Star Ruby, Rio Red and Marsh Ruby, as well as the White or Golden grapefruit
  • Pummelos: Is the Chinese grapefruit and is thick and large with green or yellow peel. The interior is either white or pink, milder than regular grapefruit and very aromatic. Pummelos are in season November through March, and are especially popular for the Chinese New Year
  • Sunkist Grapefruit: It is a solid and juicy variety and has smooth skin and less seeds. This cultivar is available for 11 months in a year from November to October.
  • Oroblancos and Melogolds: They are the two new sweet and mild flavoured varieties. They may have green skins, even when they are ripe from the inside.
 

Selecting Grapefruits
The grapefruit need not be perfect in colour. Though the skin of the fruit may have scratches or marks, but they in no way affect the taste or the texture of the fruit. However, if there is a soft spot at the stem end of the fruit, it means that the fruit is rotting. A decaying grapefruit usually lacks in flavour, is less vibrant and has a poor flavour and is more bitter.

To choose a good grapefruit, it is advisable to pickup heavy ones, as this indicates that the fruit has a thin skin, and therefore more concentration of juice. The ones with wrinkles, should be avoided, as they have a thich skin and less concentration of a juicy flesh.

 

Enjoying the Grapefruit

  • The grapefruits are best had as it is by slicing the fruit horizontaly and scooping out the flesh with a spoon
  • They may also be consumed like oranges, by peeling the shin and eating the flesh
  • They can be added to green salads to give them a pepup with its tangy taste
  • A glass of grapefruit juice is better than having orange juice in the breakfast
  • Grapefruit can be diced along with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa sauce
  • To add a tropical touch to a salad, add grapefruit to shrimps and avacadoes and serve them on romaine lettuce.
 

Health Benefits

  • A fruit rich in fiber, the grapefruit is an excellent source of many nutrients and phytochemicals, which help constitute a healthy diet. It is rich in Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fiber, among other vitamins and minerals.
  • The antioxidant lycopene is found in abundance in the fruit, destroys free radicals floating in the body and helps build the immunity of the body.
  • If consumed on a regular basis, the grapefruit is believed to be excellent for lowering blood cholesterol
  • It is a fruit, which is most often an important part of a diet plan, as it helps boost the metabolism of the body, thereby facilitating the burning of fats
  • The seeds of the fruit are known to have antimicrobial properties, which prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi
  • Consuming the fruit regularly helps in preventing kidney stones
  • A fruit rich in Vitamin C, it also provides protection against lung and colon cancer
  • Grapefruit helps in boosting Liver Enzymes that help clear out Carcinogens
  • Naringenin, a flavnoid found in the grapefruit helps in repairing DNA