A breakfast favorite, the large succulent grapefruit has a yellow skin and is about three times the size of an average orange.

With a powerful pucker-up quality, the grapefruit needs to be fully ripe before enjoying. Not only are grapefruits a great way to start your day at breakfast, they are versatile enough to take you all the way to dessert. Let's look at this refreshing fruit and learn more. Although it can be considered a modern fruit as it was not was recognized as a species until the 1830s, grapefruit has crossed the line from breakfast fruit to useful flavor to have around in the kitchen.

Tart and tangy, with sweetness that grabs your taste buds; grapefruit rivals the popularity of the orange. Although they are generally available throughout the year, grapefruit are at their peak during the winter months. Grapefruits are typically two to three times larger than their orange cousins. The Latin scientific name for grapefruit, citrus paradisi, actually means “paradise-like.” Grapefruits are categorized as white, pink, or ruby, but their color isn't evident from the outside. The classification reflects the color of their flesh.

Grapefruit beyond breakfast

Grapefruits are one of the newer fruits to be become known outside of their native area. It wasn't until the 18th century that grapefruit was found in Barbados. Grapefruit trees came to the US in the early 19th century. Scientists believe that the grapefruit was born out of a crossbreeding between an orange and the pomelo. The name 'grapefruit' actually came from the way these delicious fruits grow – hanging in clusters, like grapes, from trees. Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas are the four top producing states in the US.

A study done in Austria suggests that fruits which are ripe, almost to the point of spoilage, actually have increased antioxidant levels. So, for the most antioxidants, choose a fully ripened grapefruit. Grapefruits are naturally juicier when they're slightly warm rather than cool, so it is important to store them at room temperature if you are planning on enjoying them within a week of purchase. If you will not be eating them within this time period, store them in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep fresh for about two to three weeks. Grapefruit is a great freshener, just like lemon. Put the peelings down the garbage disposal for deodorizing. The essential oils from grapefruit are also used in many scented products as well as beauty products.

How to use and store grapefruit

Usually served with sugar or juiced as a healthy way to start your breakfast.

Grapefruit is recommended as an slimming aid as It is supposed to contain enzimes that stimulate metabolism.

It is widely used in sweet or savory salads. Apart from that, grapefruit pulp and peel make an interesting marmalade.

Cooking with Grapefruit

Grapefruits are citrus fruit, so you eat them like other citrus fruits. They can be eaten by peeling and separating the segments. You can also slice a grapefruit around the 'equator' and eat it like a bowl, using a serrated spoon to scoop out the sections to eat. You can cut around from top to bottom and continue to cut into wedges, just like other citrus. With the grapefruit, however, you must be sure to avoid eating the white 'pith' as it is very, very bitter. Beyond breakfast and snack time, the grapefruit has seen the resurgence in popularity in everything from vinaigrette to grilled meals to desserts.

Substitute lemons or oranges with grapefruit in your recipes and you would be surprised by a very refreshing flavor.

This citrus, that has been familiar as a breakfast staple, is finding all sorts of new ways to make it to the table. Get familiar with this tangy sweet and juicy fruit to expand your culinary experience way beyond the ordinary.

Grapefruit is very popular as a breakfast fruit, either whole or grapefruit juice. It lends itself to a good variety of creations both sweet and savory, like this salad.

Avocado, crab and grapefruit salad

4 avocados
1 pound crab meat, picked through and diced
½ cup pecans
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup halved grapefruit sections
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
black olives


Cut avocados in half and remove their seeds.

Mix together the crab meat with the next 4 ingredients then spoon the mixture into the avocados.

Serve on a bed of lettuce. Use the grapefruit sections as a border and top with the chopped eggs and black olives.

Grapefruit is an incredible source of vitamin C, which helps support the immune system. Vitamin C also helps prevent free radical damage and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The vitamins and nutrients in grapefruits also help promote cardiovascular health. Consumption of super-foods rich in vitamin C has resulted in a reduced risk of death from causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer. Grapefruit also protects against kidney stones and colon cancer.

Grapefruit can have a number of interactions with drugs, often increasing the effective potency of compounds. The effect of grapefruit juice with regard to drug absorption was originally discovered in 1989. However, the effect became well-publicized after being responsible for a number of deaths due to overdosing on medication. Be sure to talk to you doctor about your medications and grapefruit interactions.

How to identify grapefruit

The leaves of the grapefruit tree are dark green, long and thin. It produces white four-petalled flowers. The fruit is yellow-skinned, largely oblate and ranges in size, and has an acidic yellow segmented pulp. Although the grapefruit comes in many varieties, determinable by color, the most popular varieties cultivated today are red, white and pink hues. The family of flavors range from highly acidic and somewhat bitter to sweet and tart.

Originally from the East Indies, its sweet but sharp flavor may suggest that grapefruit was initially an hybrid of oranges -inheriting their sweetnes - and citron - hence the sour flavor.

How to grow grapefruit

Virtually 90% grapefruit is grown in North America, where it is very popular. The sweet pink variety - keeping the original flavor without any sharp notes- was first produced in Texas.

Grapefruit - citrus paradisi (rutaceae)

French - pamplemousse.
German - Grapefrucht, Pampelmuse.
Italian - pompelmo.
Spanish - pomelo, pamplemusa.