Editor’s note: This is the second of a monthly installment that will run on the first Wednesday of each month and highlights a food or food group that has a month dedicated to it.
When conducting research, one sometimes encounters non-starters, something akin to offering to buy someone a drink who replies, “I don’t drink.”
Such was my luck when I sought to learn about grapefruit.
Although the fruit is believed to be a hybrid of the shaddock (known today as a pomelo) and sweet oranges, Walter Sinclair declared in “The Grapefruit: Its Composition, Physiology, and Products” that “the origin of the grapefruit is not definitively known.”
I felt at a greater loss than Tom Branson when trying to make conversation with the duchess.
Still, one must press on. It is widely held that the fruit’s introduction to the U.S. came at the hand of Frenchman Odet Philippe, who is listed in Florida Citrus Hall of Fame and credited with its cultivation with seeds from the Bahamas.
Unfortunately, it was not love at first sight nor bite.
In an Epicurious blog, Regina Schrambling referenced Waverly Root’s “Food,” where he described grapefruit as a strange fruit to most Americans until the Great Depression, when it took off because citrus could be had for free with ... food stamps.
“This brought the fruit into families which had previously been so ignorant of it that welfare boards received the same complaint from a number of housewives: They had boiled grapefruit for hours and it still remained tough,” he wrote.
Well, grapefruit has come a long way since those inauspicious beginnings and is found in baked goods, salads, diet plans and skincare products, to name but a few.
Eating grapefruit may even help you lose weight. A study published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food supports the long-held belief that grapefruit is useful in the weight-loss battle.
According to a pilot study by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, adding grapefruit to one’s diet may result in weight loss. The 12-week pilot study monitored weight and metabolic factors of 100 men and women. Participants maintained their daily eating habits and slightly enhanced their exercise routine; the only dietary change was the intake of grapefruit and grapefruit juice. On average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, with some participants losing more than 10 pounds.
Grapefruit also contains beneficial antioxidants that help support heart health.
Red and pink grapefruit offer additional antioxidant benefits in the form of lycopene, a phytonutrient associated with many health benefits.
To follow are some ways to add a little grapefruit to your day.
Zesty Grapefruit Sugar Scrub
3/4 cup of organic sugar
1/4 cup fresh Sunkist grapefruit juice
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tbsp. honey
12 drops essential grapefruit oil (optional, for scent)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Apply to your hands by dipping a sliced grapefruit in the grapefruit sugar mixture. In addition to the massaging skin benefits, the grapefruit will also work to brighten nails. Follow the treatment with a luke-warm soaked wash cloth.
– From Sunkist.com.
Citrus Sugar Recipe
Try on cereal, French toast, fresh fruit, tea, coffee or mixed drinks. Makes 4 servings.
4 tsp. Sunkist lemon, orange or grapefruit zest
1 cup sugar
Combine zest and sugar, store in a covered container at room temperature, allowing flavors to blend 24 hours before using.
Sunkist Citrus Bruschetta Recipe
Grapefruit and blue cheese makes this Sunkist Citrus Bruschetta a refreshing and tasty appetizer. Makes 8 servings.
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 Sunkist Pink Grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1/2 cup basil, torn
3 tbsp. diced red onion, soaked in cold water and drained
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup blue cheese
Salt and pepper as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Place in oven, and bake 5-6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together grapefruit, basil, red onions, paprika and garlic powder.
Spoon onto toasted baguette slices and top with crumbled blue cheese.
Return to oven and bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving (2-3 slices): calories, 244; total fat, 4.20 g; cholesterol, 6 mg; sodium, 534 mg; total carbs, 41.65 g; dietary fiber, 1.65 g; sugars, 2.2 g; protein, 9.70g