Most home cooks are comfortable working with oranges, but their tangier cousin — the grapefruit — presents a bit more of a challenge. But it doesn’t need to. Grapefruit easily goes beyond breakfast and works its wonders in salads, drinks, condiments and desserts. Although available all year round, this citrus fruit is at its peak from December through April.
Although there are two primary varieties of grapefruit, the most common variety you'll encounter in the supermarket is the white Marsh, with yellow skin and white (actually pale yellow) flesh. It’s considered a seedless variety, despite the fact that there are still some seeds in each fruit.
Long prized in Asian cuisines and across the Mediterranean, the grapefruit's sweet-tartness and perfumed fragrance can add color, distinction and appeal to even the plainest ingredients.
Why choose organic grapefruit?
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our organic grapefruit without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water, and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic grapefruit tastes better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruit like grapefruit and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store grapefruit
- Look for grapefruit with firm, shiny fruits that feel heavy for their size; this signals plenty of sweet juice. Avoid grapefruit with wrinkled skins or soft spots.
- Sometimes a grapefruit’s skin may have a green tinge. This can indicate that that the fruit was exposed to cold temperatures before picking, or it may be “regreening,” a natural process that occurs in spring when a grapefruit tree produces blossoms while ripe fruit is still on the tree; some of that extra chlorophyll is absorbed by the ripe fruit, making it even sweeter. In any case, it doesn’t mean the fruit is under-ripe.
- Note that grapefruits with a pink or red blush on their skins will have rosier flesh. In general, the deeper the color of the flesh, the sweeter the grapefruit will be.
- Never store grapefruit in a bag. Keep at room temperature for several days, or store in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks.
Tips for using grapefruit
Segmenting citrus (to "supreme" in chef terms) means releasing the individual segments or sections of a citrus fruit from the membranes that hold the fruit together. The membranes of a grapefruit, in particular, tend to be tough, bitter and chewy; removing them creates a much more attractive presentation.
- First, slice off the tops and bottoms of the grapefruit (or any citrus fruit). With a small, sharp knife, remove the peel, cutting deeply enough to remove the bitter white pith. This can be done either in a circular motion, moving around the globe of the fruit, or by slicing from the top to the bottom of the fruit, following the contour of the fruit. Work over a bowl to catch the juices.
- Next, insert your knife along one side of a membrane and slice toward the center of the fruit, keeping the knife as close to the membrane as possible, separating one side of the segment. Turn the blade of the knife so it now faces outward, and slice along the membrane on the other side of this section until the segment is completely freed. Once you’ve released all the segments, squeeze the juice from the empty mass of membranes into the bowl.