Grapefruits are awesome. I simply love that pop of bitter-sweet citrus in the morning. Packed with goodness, water and vitamins, yum! Read on and find out more about Grapefruit benefits and what makes this fruit so interesting.
What is a Grapefruit?
Grapefruit is a bitter-sweet citrus fruit. It grows in clusters on the tree – a subtropical citrus tree of the Rutaceae family.
There are many Grapefruit varieties. You’ll notice the difference clearly in the different red, white and pink hues of their inside pulp. Red/Pink Grapefruit is one of the most well-known.
Where do Grapefruits come from?
The subtropical Grapefruit tree is said to originate from Barbados, an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. With the subtropics being the zone found roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, originating from Barbados sounds like an accurate location.
After researching the story of this fruit, I discovered that it is the hybrid result of an accidental cross between two species: the sweet orange (C. sinensis) and the pomelo (C. maxima). A Pomelo is the largest of all the citrus fruits and looks and tastes similar to a Grapefruit. For this reason, Grapefruits are sometimes mistakenly called pomelos.
Grapefruit was first documented in 1750 by a Welshman, Rev. Griffith Hughes, in his book The Natural History of Barbados – where he referred to it as the “forbidden fruit”. Still, to this day, the Grapefruit Tree is one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados” and one of their absolute favourite fruits – How charming is that?
From World Wide Words, this account of the Grapefruit’s story was interesting:
The grapefruit was first described in 1750 by the Reverend Griffith Hughes and was then and often afterwards called the forbidden fruit, because it was seized upon by those searching for the identity of the original tree of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. John Lunan, in whose botanical work of 1814 about Jamaica, Hortus Jamaicensis, the word grapefruit first appeared in English, said of it: “There is a variety known by the name of grape-fruit, on account of its resemblance in flavour to the grape; this fruit is not near so large as the shaddock”. Mr Lunan had either never tasted one, or grapefruit of the period were sweeter than they are now, or he was suffering from sour grapes.
It’s certain his idea about the name was wrong. It turns out the grapefruit was really so called because it grows in groups that when small, green and unripe look to a vivid imagination a bit like a bunch of grapes.
It is interesting to learn that Grapefruits actually grow in clusters on trees like grapes do. You learn something new every day.#DidYouKnow Grapefruits grow on trees in clusters similar to Grapes. That's how they supposedly got their name: Grape-Fruit Click To Tweet
After Grapefruit was documented in Barbados, it was noticed in many parts of Jamaica too. Over time, Grapefruit seeds made their way to the shores of Florida where it was planted, spreading out into the United States. At first, many people thought it was some kind of pomelo, and named it “Citrus paradisi macf”. However, in 1948, botanists suggested that the grapefruit was actually an accidental hybrid between the pomelo and the orange. After this, the grapefruit was widely accepted as its own fruit and given a new botanical name, “Citrus X paradist”.
It may have been originally thought of as a forbidden fruit, but today it’s grown all over the world and enjoyed by many. They are grown in China, United States, Argentina, South Africa, Israel, India, and more. China is the largest producer.
When is Grapefruit Season?
Winter is the time of the year when Citrus fruits are usually their sweetest and juiciest. So, look out for Grapefruit then. In Italy, winter is from December to February, and the supermarkets are filled to the brim with citrus. Grapefruits, oranges, clementines.
The universe is so clever, don’t you think? During winter time, when we have colder weather and are more likely to get sick, out come the ripe citrus fruits packed with immune-boosting Vitamins. Natural cures from the source!
What makes Grapefruits so awesome?
Grapefruits have a unique taste – an interesting balance of sweet, bitter, and sour. This taste may not be for everyone, but it’s a refreshing flavour when you get used to it, especially in the morning. Grapefruits are great eaten simply on their own, but their flavour also works really well in dishes like salads.
Apart from the taste, Grapefruits are low in calories and packed with nutrients. Notably, they contain a high amount of Vitamin A, great for your immune system and keeping your eyes and skin healthy. They also contain Vitamin C, great for skin health too but even more importantly, essential in the growth, development and repair of body tissues. Grapefruits also contain minerals like Potassium and Calcium.
Grapefruits are good for you, especially when you need an immune boost!
Personally, I find these fruits awesome because:
They taste wonderfully refreshing in the morning
They are easy to take to work
They are easy to eat and great on their own
It’s pretty cool that the great Oscar Wilde held them in high regard too, saying, “A Grapefruit is just a lemon that saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.”A grapefruit is just a lemon that saw an opportunity and took advantage of it - Oscar Wilde Click To Tweet
A Closer Look at The Grapefruit:
There are a few varieties of Grapefruit. As Ruby Red Grapefruit is the most well-known, so we’re focusing on this variety for this post. Let’s take a look at the Ruby Red Grapefruit a little closer.
Read on to discover more about:
Grapefruit Nutritional Content
Grapefruit Health Benefits
Simple Clean Grapefruit Recipes
Grapefruit Nutritional Content:
A 100g of raw Red/Pink Grapefruit contains:
|Energy||142,256 kJ (34 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2 g|
|Vitamins||Vitamin A (23%), Vitamin C (52%)|
|Minerals||Potassium (135mg), Calcium (2%), Iron (1%)|
The above information comes from the myfitnesspal website, which I find to be a useful source. However, as mentioned above, there are many varieties of Grapefruits, grown all over the world. Therefore the above content varies. I find that looking at these tables, regardless of there being room for variations, still give us a good idea of what the whole food offers.
Grapefruit offers a good dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium. It also contains no Cholesterol or Fats and is pretty low in Calories. Sounds like a great ingredient to add to your shopping list.
Grapefruit Health Benefits:
As a citrus fruit, Grapefruits are a great source of Vitamin C. Especially in winter, I aim to have them for breakfast at least twice a week, simply cut in half and eaten as is. So it’s a great immune booster, particularly during a change of season and winter.
However, there are many other health benefits to consider. The vitamins and minerals in Grapefruits are said to assist in skin, eye and body tissue health.
Another great fact about Grapefruits is their high water content -They contain more water than most fruit, about 92% water! Lots of water with very little calories, meaning you’re getting hydrated at the same time.
Grapefruits can also be used for healthy weight loss. Being low in Calories but high in water, as well as containing filled fibre, they assist in appetite control. They full you up and calm that hunger dragon that always seems to want more 🙂
There are other supposed natural remedies, some of which are listed below. Personally, I love most whole foods and the simple fact that they’re natural and filled with nutrients. I trust that if I eat a good balance of whole foods, my body will take what it needs and after me for more of what I am lacking. Our bodies are so intelligent!
|Eating:||*Recipes at bottom of post.|
|For Breakfast: Slice a fresh Grapefruit in half and enjoy! See slicing tips below in "Practical Information"|
|In Salads: Use fresh Grapefruit pieces in your salads.|
|Homemade Ice Lollies: Freshly squeezed Grapefruit juice, poured into popsicle containers and frozen, make tasty lollies! You can get creative and add other ingredients to the mix.|
|Grapefruits can be used in lots of different ways - Check out this cool Grapefruit Recipes page for lots of ideas.|
|Drinking:||*Recipes at bottom of post.|
|Grapefruit juice is a refreshing drink to enjoy any time of the day. Experiment by mixing other fruits with it.|
|Tasty Grapefruit Cocktails, are super tasty, and remember, if you aren't drinking, you can always make a pretty-looking virgin cocktail too.|
|Warm Grapefruit Tea is another great idea, yes! Warm up freshly squeezed juice slowly in a pot, and add a little honey to taste at the end. Some tea recipes also include ingredients like cinnamon and mint. Get creative, have fun!|
|Skincare: Grapefruit contains natural acids, Vitamin C and other ingredients that assist in protecting the health and appearance of the skin. That's why you'll find many skincare products use Grapefruit in their recipes. Check online for some homemade recipes too.|
|Cellulite reduction: Grapefruit is good for the skin and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, amongst other things. Look out for cellulite that include Grapefruit in them.|
|Natural Immune-booster: Grapefruit contains a high content of Vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals, which all work together to assist the immune system.|
|Weight Loss & Appetite Control: Grapefruit contains a good amount of fibre, which slows digestion and helps control appetite.|
|Heart Health: Grapefruits contain quite a bit of Potassium, that assists in lowering high blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.|
Are you ready to add at least one Grapefruit to your shopping list this week? Hope so!
|If you can, go to a local fruit and veg market. Here you'll likely find fresher and better prices options.|
|The Grapefruit should feel firm all around if it is ripe. Plump and juicy.|
|They are usually slightly oval in shape and a little flatter on the top and bottom. Some say that if it is too round then it is not ripe. Also, if there are any lumps or bumps on it, don't buy it.|
|Cutting a Grapefruit for breakfast: Cut the Grapefruit in half - Now, with a sharp small knife cut the segments from the centre outwards - Now cut around the perimeter along the fleshes edge. Now it's time to eat, segment by segment with a spoon. Enjoy!|
|Grapefruit is prepared in different ways. Check out some recipes further down.|
|You can keep your Grapefruit in the fridge or outside at room temperature. If kept outside the fridge, you should eat it within a week. In the fridge it'll last longer.|
Got any other tips to share? Please share below in the comments, would love to learn more.
Simple Clean Grapefruit Recipes:
- Fresh and Frisky Morning Citrus Juice
- Fresh Grapefruit and Fennel Salad
- Straight-up Grapefruit for Breakfast
- Grapefruit Mint Honey Tea
- Honey Grapefruit Popsicles
You really should try the Fresh Grapefruit and Fennel Salad – it’s an interesting combination of flavours and really delicious.
If you already eat Grapefruits, awesome! If not, I implore you to give them a go. If you find them too bitter, drizzle a little natural honey over them. Enjoy they zing these fruits offer. When eaten in the morning, this fruit says to the insides of your body: “Good morning! Rise and shine, today it going to be a great day!”
If you enjoyed this post, please share it. I’d love to spread the love for this wonderful fruit so that more people can appreciate it. If you have useful information to share, please do so in the comments – We are always learning and I’d love to learn more.