Grapefruit lovers: time to dig right in

January 10, 2007|By Donna Pierce | Donna Pierce,Chicago Tribune

Grapefruit was first identified in Barbados and grows in clusters, like grapes. Some say this accounts for the name. But that's not conclusive.

"Fruit experts disagree about the origins of grapefruit, how it was named and even what species it is. But there is little debate about how delicious it is," Alice Waters says in Chez Panisse Fruit.

This low-calorie fruit (about 40 calories in a medium half) is high in vitamin C and potassium.

Donna Pierce writes for the Chicago Tribune.

Grapefruit Tips

BUYING

Select fruit with thin, smooth skin. The heaviest fruit are juiciest. They are available year-round, but peak-season grapefruit from Florida and Texas arrive from October through June.

STORING

Store grapefruit unwrapped at room temperature up to five days, then refrigerate up to three weeks.

COOKING

Think outside the crate and consider adding grapefruit sections' distinctive tang to savory dishes with pork or poultry. Author Alice Waters includes a grapefruit in the mix of other citrus fruit in a risotto dish in Chez Panisse Fruit.

Or try it in a salad. "The tangy flavor of grapefruit perfectly complements the buttery blandness of avocado," Doris Townsend writes in The Cook's Companion.

Or make candied grapefruit peel, a festive treat or garnish:

Peel long strips from 2 grapefruit, being careful to remove the bitter white pith. Cut into 2-inch-long strips about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide. Cover with cold water in a small saucepan; heat to a boil. Cook about 1 minute; drain. Repeat 4 more times.

Heat 3 cups of sugar and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves. Add peel to sugar syrup, pushing down with a spoon to keep it submerged.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until peel is translucent and syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Drain on wire rack over wax paper. Dry in a single layer, about 12 hours. Toss in sugar to coat. Store in a covered container.

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