The grapefruit originated on the Caribbean island of Barbados, where it was discovered as the product of an accidental cross between two species, sweet orange and pomelo. A citrus fruit also commonly referred to as the “forbidden fruit”, the grapefruit gained widespread popularity through exports by Spanish seafarers. Impressed by their refreshing, sweet-tart flavour, farmers in the US state of Florida initiated the controlled cultivation of this exotic fruit. Today, grapefruits are grown in nearly all subtropical regions of the world, although the largest quantities come from plantations in Florida, California and Texas.
Grapefruits grow amongst the thick foliage of an evergreen tree from the family of rutaceous plants which often grows to heights of up to 15 metres. The name “grapefruit” comes from the fact that the bright yellow fruits ripen like grapes in close-packed clusters. The trees are especially appealing when in bloom, when their radiant white blossoms emit a pleasantly sweet fragrance.
One name, many different varieties: there are some 20 different types of grapefruit, each of which has its own distinctive appearance and flavour. Depending on the species, the flesh varies in colour from light yellow to ruby-red. Juice producers usually opt for grapefruits with light-coloured flesh, due above all to their refreshing sweet-tart aroma. Ripe grapefruits measure between 10 and 15 cm in diameter and have bright yellow peels with large pores. A grapefruit that is ready to eat gives way to light pressure, but does not lose its shape.
Fresh, tart, sweet and sour – grapefruits offer a nuanced range of flavours, which makes them popular ingredients in light fruit salads, fruit juice and other fruit beverages. Spooned right from the peel, their delicate, tart taste is especially refreshing in hot weather. Consumed in the form of a lightly chilled juice, grapefruit offers a healthy energy kick – a wonderful way to start the day!