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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Seasonal Snippet: Grapefruit & Why You Should Eat Them Right Now

Seasonal Snippet: Grapefruit & Why You Should Eat Them Right Now

Katy Morris

Mounds of tart, tangy, juicy grapefruits have made their way north and are brightening up our dishes from breakfast through dessert. Here’s the rundown of why you should be loading up on these citrus delights and how to get your hands on the best pucker-y ones, just in time for National Grapefruit Month.

Don’t forget to scroll down for Liz’s easy recipe for Toasted Grapefruit with Honey and Ginger. 

 

What’s so great about grapefruits?

Oh, let us count the ways! Not only do they add a welcomingly refreshing break from all those root veggies we’ve been roasting this winter, they are packed with immune-boosting vitamins, are a super source of lycopene (an antioxidant that gives red and pink ones their color – yep, just like tomatoes), and help lower cholesterol.

They are also super versatile and can be squeezed into a cocktail or juice (1 medium grapefruit will give you 2/3 cup of fresh squeezed juice), simply sectioned on a bed of greens (we love Rachel Carr’s raw Grapefruit Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing), broiled & paired with cinnamon and sugar, diced in a salsa and so much more.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

 

What are the various types?

Grapefruits, which are in fact a hybrid between pomelos and oranges and grow in clusters similar to grapes, come in several varieties. Their skin can vary from gold to green and their flesh can be anywhere from light yellow to ruby red. You’ll likely find red, white, pink, and white gold (“oro blanco”) at your local market.

 

Red: It’s said that the darker the flesh, the sweeter the fruit, but red ones can still be bitter. This kind has the highest level of lycopene in it, which is where it gets its vibrant hue.

White: This pale, think-skinned type is comparatively mild tasting than its red and pink counterparts and is almost always seedless.

Oro Blanco: The white gold variety is a cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit. It is sweeter than other varieties, has a super thick skin and lacks acidity.

 

No matter the kind, you want to pick grapefruit that are plump, blemish-free, and oval. If they are lumpy or oddly shaped, it probably means they are overripe.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

 

Can it really interact with medicine?

Yep, this is true! Without getting too science-y, here’s what you need to know: grapefruit has something called furanocoumarins, which block the kind of enzyme in your body used to break down certain medications. If they aren’t broken down properly, some medication levels can become too strong and be toxic. Be sure to check with your doctor if you plan on eating a lot of them this season.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

What else should I know?

One grapefruit tree can produce 1,300-1,500 pounds of grapefruit every year! They are usually available year-round down south and in California, but winter into early spring is their prime time.

 

About our favorite organic citrus source:

This year, New Orleans based orchard farmer, Isabelle Cossart, told us that the citrus harvest came a month and a half early! That,  combined with the loss of ¾ of her blood oranges (which lasted until March last season) due to weather issues and her rising popularity (she already sold out of all her harvest!) meant we missed our window to enjoy her amazing citrus bounty this winter.

We’ve already marked our calendars for mid-October when her first wave of satsumas (Louisiana mandarins) is expected – we’ll keep you posted.

Learn more about Isabelle Cossart’s Organic Orchard here.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

Here’s a simple way to enjoy grapefruit as a snack or as a dairy-free, gluten-free, lo-cal dessert. Liz suggests picking up small amounts of flaked, unsweetened coconut and crystallized ginger in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market.

Toasted Grapefruit with Honey and Ginger

This is a dairy-free (pareve) and gluten-free recipe.

serves 4

Recipe: Liz Rueven

Ingredients:

•2 Ruby Red grapefruits, cut in ½

•2 teaspoons honey

•1-2 teaspoons brown sugar

•1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped

•1 tablespoon coconut flakes (unsweetened)

•1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional for dusting)

 

Assemble:

Using a grapefruit knife, cut around outer edge of each grapefruit. Separate membrane but leave sections in place.

Place grapefruit, cut side up, on a foil lined cookie sheet. If needed, slice uneven bump off bottom so grapefruit half sits evenly on the pan.

Drizzle each half with honey and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Broil for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Remove and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Place back under the broiler for another 1-2 minutes, being mindful to not burn the coconut.

Remove from oven and top each half with bits of crystallized ginger.

Serve warm.

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