Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Glorious Grapefruit

Recently I ran across an article in a magazine about the wonderful health benefits that can be found in a citrus known as the grapefruit. Normally, when I see or hear the word "grapefruit" it brings to mind a tart, sour, all-around bad taste in my mouth that came from my first and (up untill recently) only encounter with the grapefruit. After that experience, I decided that no matter how "good" it was for me, there was no way I was going to go through the torture of finishing one just to up my Vitamin C intake. Now fast forward to the article. At the time of this writing I am 7 months pregnant and healthy eating seems even more important now. So I figured, if it is that all around good for me, I might as well give it a second chance. After all, I'm always telling my kids to do the same.

A little Grapefruit background

The grapefruit is part of the citrus family and is thusly named because the fruit grows in clusters like grapes. Originally found in the West Indies, it is now largely grown in Florida, California and Texas. Grapefruits are in season from winter through early spring, though they are typically available year round. They can be seeded or seedless and are either pink, red or white.

Nutrition Facts: What makes the Grapefruit so special?

Our friend the grapefruit has a healthy dosing of Vitamin C (about 64% of your daily value in just one half) which is both an antioxidant and a cold fighter. But in that same serving of grapefruit, you will also get about 5% of your daily potassium (an electrolyte that aids in proper kidney function), and 28% of your Vitamin A (aiding in vision and overall immunity), at only a mere 52 calories. Now keep in mind that the pink and red grapefruits contain more vitamins than the whites. The pink and red variety also contain lycopene, a proven antioxidant.

To see the full nutritional data of the grapefruit visit (this is an off site link):

What to look for when purchasing a grapefruit

You want to be looking for grapefruits that are heavy for their size and that don't have any soft spots or blemishes. You can store the grapefruit in the fridge or on the counter if you will be eating it in the next couple of days.

I have my grapefruit... now what?

After I had purchased my beautiful Texas Red grapefruit I took it home and stared at it for a bit. The only way I knew how to eat a grapefruit was to cut it in half and go at it with a spoon. There had to be a better way...but I couldn't figure one out, so I grabbed a thin edged spoon from the drawer and dug in. To prep, I sliced the grapefruit in half and sprinkled a little bit of sugar on top. I quickly learned that there is a sweet part and a bitter part of the fruit, and if I avoided the bitter part, my grapefruit experience was dramatically improved. What is this bitter part you ask? It's the white membrane that separates the individual wedges. This membrane is much tougher than the membranes of an orange and with a paring knife, grapefruit knife or thin edged spoon, you can eat around (or cut out) the membrane. With my trusty spoon I dug out the individual "wells" of red grapefruit flesh and avoided the membrane all together. I must admit it was a wonderful experience, nothing like my original memories.

Well, after my "grapefruit experiment," I decided to find out what else I could do with this wonderful fruit.

Here are some recepies I had fallen upon in my searchings:

Grapefruit Sorbets:

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet by far the easiest, especially if you don't have an icecream maker
Pink Grapefruit Sorbet with Strawberries on the fancy side but you can't go wrong with strawberries
Grapefruit Sorbet simple and delicious, omit the mint if you like

Grapefruit with your salad:

Spinach and Pink Grapefruit Salad with raspberries and walnuts
Baby-Greens Salad with Grapefruit
Arugula and Grapefruit Salad very simply, very tasty
Fruit Salad with Grapefruit-Poppy Seed Dressing this is actually a green salad

Grapefruit as a salad:

Grapefruit and Avocado this is one of many recepies for this type of salad
Thai Pink Grapefruit Salad can you say... yum!
Grapefruit Ambrosia one of many different ambrosia recepies
Mango, Orange, Grapefruit, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad

Other Yummy Recepies:

Grapefruit Chiffon Loaf Cake
Broiled Grapefruit you can omit the wine if you want. Also, sprinkling a little shredded coconut on top makes for a nice treat.
Grapefruit Pie
Cinnamon Honey Grapefruit
Grapefruit Juice Smoothie

What about Grapefruit Juice?

Another form of the grapefruit that people have come to know and love is grapefruit juice. It packs pretty much the same nutritional punch as the actual fruit but in liquid form. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice can be used in place of other citrus juices in recipies and to prevent the discoloration of other fruits. It can also be used in marinades, salad dressings, and all sorts of mixed drinks (both alcoholic and non).

A Warning About Grapefruits and Medications

Despite all the wonderful health benefits of grapefruits, there are major health risks if you mix grapefruits with certain medications. Grapefruits have been proven to magnify the effects of some medications to dangerous and possibly even fatal levels. With that in mind, if you are taking any medications, please talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about possible drug interactions before you try out the grapefruit. Beter safe than sorry.

So what are you waiting for?

Will the grapefruit become your new best friend, a favorite food that acts as a magical cure-all for your worst ailments? Probably not. But in my humble opinion I believe it's time to give this underappreciated fruit a second chance. Who knows? This time around, your adult tastebuds just might like it.

Refference Links:
Image by א (Aleph),