The grapefruit tree is well formed, growing much taller than other citrus trees, with a rounded crown. It has stiff, dark green, glossy leaves and white scented flowers. There are different varieties of grapefruit, including Ruby Red, Rio Red, Duncan and Marsh. The fruits vary greatly in size, shape and color but are usually roundish with a greenish-lemon colored thick skin. The flesh can be white, reddish or pink, sweet and acidic, and picking a fruit that feels heavy for its size will give you the juiciest option.
Per 100g, the flesh has 0.8g of protein, 0.1g fat, 6.8g carbohydrate, and 30 kcal. The flesh has a high level of vitamin C, with 36mg per 100g. Grapefruit also contains both soluble fiber, useful for slowing the emptying of the stomach and for lowering cholesterol levels, and insoluble fiber, useful for decreasing the risk of intestinal problems. The fruit is also rich in antioxidants, with some research suggesting the red variety has higher levels than the white variety, especially in the antioxidant lycopene.
Some historians suggest that in the 18th and 19th centuries, an often referenced “forbidden fruit” was in fact the grapefruit. If this was indeed the case, this alternative name is becoming increasingly apt for some modern day consumers. Grapefruit interacts with a host of medications and can increase their potency, making them dangerously strong, sometimes with life-threatening effects. There is an extensive list of drugs that are susceptible to grapefruit, such as some statins, antibiotics, anticoagulants and antipsychotic drugs. Consumers who are on medication should talk to their doctor about possible interactions, and if necessary, avoid grapefruit altogether.
How to eat
Grapefruit is customarily a North American breakfast food, although it can also be eaten in the same manner as a dessert, cut in half, with the flesh separated from the skin and sugar lightly sprinkled over.
It can also be eaten as marmalade or consumed as a juice. Grapefruit sections are a great addition to green and fruit salads.
Chef Dylan Benoit of Craft Food & Beverage Group shares a recipe for Cambodian grapefruit salad, as served at Mizu Asian Bistro & Bar in Camana Bay.
Benoit notes that the salad’s beauty is in its simplicity, as well as its eye-catching colors and bold taste.
He recommends wrapping some of the grapefruit segments in a leaf and dipping them into the dressing, or serving in a conventional salad form.