Ruby Red is my favorite variety of grapefruit. As a child, I learned to love this fruit, whether white, pink or red. I would sprinkle sugar over the top of the glistening flesh. With a spoon, I’d scoop the juicy fruit out of its pocket-like sections. Occasionally, the juice would squirt up stinging my eyes. The exotic fragrance would make my mouth water in anticipation. Part of the fun of eating a grapefruit was scraping out each pocket. After I had salvaged every morsel of fruit, I’d fold the rind in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Then I’d pick up my bowl and drink the juice. This ritual was a delicious and nutritious way to begin my day.
When I saw grapefruits at Metropolitan Market today, I could not resist them. I brought home 3 Ruby Reds grown organically in California. Grapefruits grow in clusters like gigantic grapes on evergreen trees. If you were wondering where the name came from, you now have the answer. The fruit looked like grapes so it was dubbed grapefruit.
In 1750, when the fruit was first described by Griffith Hughes, he called it “the Forbidden Fruit” of Barbados. What a mysterious name!
The grapefruit’s first botanical name was Citrus paradisi. In the 1940’s, the official name changed once again to Citrus x paradisi when genetic analyses showed that the grapefruit tree resulted from an unintentional cross between the sweet orange and the pummelo.
How did grapefruit come to the United States? In 1823,”Count Odette Phillipe took grapefruit seeds to Safety Harbor near Tampa, Florida. When the seedlings fruited, their seeds were distributed around the neighborhood.” Today the United States is the largest grapefruit producer in the world with commercial growers in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.
Grapefruit is in season October through June. Ruby Red, the variety I like best, has been around since 1929. It was discovered in Texas, a random mutation was spotted in a citrus grove. The grower, Mr. A. E. Henninger, patented it in 1934. Ruby Red is the first citrus ever to be patented.
Now I’m going to share one of my favorite fall and winter treats – Broiled Red Ruby Grapefruit with Lavender Sugar. Enjoy!
Broiled Red Ruby Grapefruit with Lavender Sugar
1 grapefruit (cut in half crosswise)
1 teaspoon lavender sugar
1. Trim the bottom of each half so it sits straight up.
2. Place grapefruit halves in ovenproof ramekins.
3. Sprinkle lavender sugar on each half.
4. Place in oven under hot broiler for 2-3 minutes.
Makes 2 servings