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The main characteristics of grapefruit

Grapefruit is one of the most particular citrus fruits. First of all, it is of considerable size; in fact, it can reach 2 kg in weight. Furthermore, it is among the rare instances where a naturally occurring hybrid transforms into a distinct species. In actuality, the grapefruit was once the offspring of the sour citrus and sweet orange—that is, the “original” citrus fruit along with the cedar. Grapefruit has maintained its unique identity and traits to this day. For instance, the citrus fruit has a lovely juice on the palate but is bitter. It is distinguished by a thick, non-spongy white section that lies between the peel and the pulp.

Nutritionally speaking, it takes the same route as other citrus fruits. It is naturally high in vitamin C, which supports healthy immune function. In terms of mineral salts, they are rich in phosphorus, calcium, iron, and potassium. Unlike many other citrus fruits, grapefruit is also regarded as a diuretic and an aid in digestion. It also aids in regulating blood sugar levels.

The different varieties of grapefruit

Grapefruit varieties are the result of crosses aimed at increasing the spectrum of tastes and colors. There are currently three macrovarieties available.

  • Yellow (or white). It is the oldest variety, the “natural” one. Both the pulp and the peel are characterised by a very light shade, while the flavour is distinctly bitter.
  • A fairly recent variety, it has bright pink skin and light pink pulp. While retaining bitter hints, it can be considered sweet.
  • It is similar to pink but is characterised by a brighter colour, a sweeter flavour, and the presence of beta-carotene.

How to use this citrus fruit in cooking

Grapefruits are used similarly to other citrus fruits, with the exception of being eaten raw. Actually, it is typically too “intense” and bitter to be used as a “table fruit.” Either way, the juice can be used to create tasty smoothies, granitas, flavoured drinks, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. It is often served with fruit juice.

More unusual uses for grapefruit include first courses, especially when served cold. If the aim is to create daring combinations and reproduce bittersweet-sour scents, grapefruit can help. Grapefruit can be used in cold pastas and rice salads (albeit in limited amounts). Below, you will find some recipes I selected that involve the use of grapefruit. There’s something for all tastes, including first courses!

Some delicious recipes

Grapefruit’s organoleptic and decorative qualities make it suitable for a wide variety of delectable and even savoury recipes. Here are the ones that struck me the most.

Puff pastry filled with cheese and citrus fruits. It is a very unique baked dessert, as the seasoning is halfway between sweet, savoury, acidic, and acrid. The grapefruit is cooked in small pieces (keeping the peel) together with the sugar until an irregular mixture is formed to be distributed on the pastry like a jam.

Glasswort, ginger, and grapefruit noodles. Here, the grapefruit serves as a condiment as well as a garnish. It is added raw, without any treatment other than dicing. It impacts the final result in terms of colour and taste.

Lettuce soup with prawns. In this recipe, the grapefruit acts as a garnish but still manages to influence the final result with its predominant flavour. It is used together with lime and orange to marinate the prawns.

Vegetables and citrus fruit mix. It is a very complex side dish that combines body, delicacy, and acrid hints. The vegetables are pan-fried, while the grapefruit and the rest of the citrus fruits are used raw.

Pot-cooked duck. This second course tastes fascinating, and it’s slightly acrid. A lot of citrus fruits, particularly grapefruit, are used in this recipe. Its peel is boiled with sugar and water and then served as a side dish to season the meat.

What are the benefits of grapefruit?

Some people believe grapefruit has medicinal qualities. It may seem excessive, but the benefits are truly numerous and very interesting. Let’s examine a few of them.

  • It helps prevent cancer. The reference is above all to flavonoids and vitamin C, which have a good antioxidant function.
  • Supports the immune system. By virtue of the presence of vitamin C, grapefruit has a positive impact on the body’s defenses. Other citrus fruit varieties likewise serve the same purpose.
  • It is remineralizing. It contains many mineral salts, such as potassium and magnesium. By virtue of this, it helps maintain high energy levels and promotes the full recovery of strength.
  • Lowers bad cholesterol. Certain scientific research shows a link between grapefruit and poor cholesterol. The effects are significant and occur in a relatively short time. An interesting detail when considering the consequences of high cholesterol (LDL cholesterol).
  • Regulates mood. Although it falls short of chocolate’s potential, it improves mood nonetheless. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates melatonin and serotonin synthesis. These two hormones promote the development of a relaxed mood and promote sleep.

Contraindications of grapefruit

As we have seen, grapefruit is good for your health; however, this only concerns balanced consumption, excluding medical contraindications. Certain individuals should drastically cut back on their grapefruit intake, such as those on medications meant to suppress the immune system or treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Negative interactions have also been reported with antiarrhythmics, with some clarithromycin-based antibiotics, with statins, and with some types of tranquilizers. The reason for this lies in the presence of furanocoumarins, substances that tend to “destroy” the active ingredients of drugs before they reach the blood.

But generally speaking, it’s advisable to steer clear of overindulgance. Grapefruit, if ingested beyond the recommended doses, can cause headaches, tiredness, and gastrointestinal disorders. In extreme cases and in predisposed individuals, it can overburden the liver and kidneys.

What about the allergic symptoms? Well, there is no real allergy to grapefruit, but rather an allergy to citrus fruits in general. The symptoms are the same as any type of allergy; therefore, they involve the body at a systemic, dermatological, and intestinal level. In this regard, you may experience itching, eczema, redness, swelling, nausea, and diarrhoea.