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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look at Me; I'm A Blushing...

Grapefruit! February is National Grapefruit Month!!!

Grapefruit; I don't know what it is about the "forbidden fruit" of Barbados." I wouldn't feel at all deprived if I never had a dish of grapefruit set before me again. It isn't that I'm opposed to all things grapefruit, on the contrary, like most citrus fruit I've encountered in my "lifetime," grapefruit seems quite the versatile little "fellow." Personally, what I find most objectionable, when it comes to grapefruit, is the name. Why in heaven's name is a grapefruit called that when it doesn't even look like a grape?

Before you rule out the fruit's growing habits, let's see what the Science Reference Services @ the Library of Congress offers as an explanation.

It is believed that the name refers to the manner in which grapefruit grows in clusters on a tree. It is suggested that these clusters resemble the shape of large yellow grapes and so the fruit was called a grapefruit. Another explanation is that the premature grapefruit looks similar in shape to unripe green grapes.
When this new fruit was adopted into cultivation and the name grapefruit came into general circulation, American horticulturists viewed that title as so inappropriate that they endeavored to have it dropped in favor of "pomelo". However, it was difficult to avoid confusion with the pummelo, and the name grapefruit prevailed, and is in international use except in Spanish-speaking areas where the fruit is called toronja. In 1962, Florida Citrus Mutual proposed changing the name to something more appealing to consumers in order to stimulate greater sales. There were so many protests from the public against a name change that the idea was abandoned. source

Side-Note: According to The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery (1971)

"Grapefruit: a large, round, or oblong citrus fruit, an improved variety of the shaddock, the original pamplemousse, a name which is now made to serve for both shaddock and grapefruit...As for the reason why grapefruit is called as such, "The grapefruit is called grapefruit because it frequently grows in large clusters, the same as grapes grow; and, like grapes, it is now being used as a source of wines, brandies, and cordials. Sometimes it is referred to as forbidden fruit on account of a cordial by that name which has been made from the juice."

The major citrus producing states in the United States include Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. I have a sort of "cute" recipe leaflet from the people over at Texas Citrus that offers "the Magic" qualities of the Ruby Red Grapefruit that I wanted to share with you today but, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to really dig in to the history of Texas Grapefruit or any other grapefruit for that matter as there is still a lot going on here that I won't get to "discuss" until next week. I will tell you, I'm on my way down to New York and won't be back until Monday. I won't have my computer with me either...

Grapefruit in Texas

Little is known of the first plantings of grapefruit in Texas. We do know that a man by the name of John H. Shary is well remembered as the "Father of the Citrus Industry" in the history of Texas Grapefruit. While the first grapefruit were white-fleshed and seedy, the Texas grapefruit industry developed around seedless, dark red grapefruit varieties that are now grown and enjoyed all over the world.

The first reported planting of a grove in Texas was 1893. Initial grapefruit plantings in Texas were the white varieties, followed by pink varieties. John H. Shary, a developer originally from Omaha, Nebraska, was so impressed by the small crop raised by early citrus experimenters that he felt citrus was the crop of the future for Texas. Texas Citrus

Do me a favor, will you? The next time you enjoy a grapefruit, will you count the sections? I read somewhere that every hybrid grapefruit has 12 sections. Is that possible with so many varieties at our fingertips? 

Grapefruits are available year round. One reason for this convenience is because grapefruit keep well on the tree and continue to grow for several months. The best fruit from Florida and Texas are found between October and June and the peak of the season is from January to June. In July, August, and September, California and Arizona grapefruit are more readily available. Grapefruit should be individually wrapped and stored at 40-60 degrees. They freeze well too!!! Grapefruits come in assorted sizes and in a variety of skin and flesh colors. Some have seeds, others are seedless. The skins may be golden yellow, red-checked, bronze, or russet. The flesh colors are either yellow, pink, or red. Grapefruits come in all different sizes. Some are as small as an orange, others are as big as a melon.

Yellow, Pink & Red Grapefruit

First, we need to figure out how to choose a grapefruit. Grapefruit are divided into three main categories according to the color of their flesh, juice and skin. Bear in mind that the color of any grapefruit variety is affected by soil and climate. Time of year determines the quality, flavor, and texture of the fruit also. Until about fifty years ago, nearly all grapefruit were of a variety called the Duncan. They were thin-skinned, heavy, fine flavored, and full of juice, but also full of seeds. Hybrid grapefruit are different from the original grapefruit, which can still be found in Oriental markets. Called pomelos or shadocks, these tend to be larger than grapefruit, with rough, puffy, thick rinds and lots of seeds.

Yellow or pale colored varieties include:
Duncan, a favorite of Martha Stewart, Marsh, Oroblanco, Goldens, Wheeney, Sweetie and Melogold.
The most common pink varieties are:
Henderson Ruby, Ruby, Marsh Ruby, Ray Ruby, Red Blush, Thompson and Foster.
Grapefruit often exhibiting a deeper shade of red are:
Star Ruby, Ruby Red, Rio Star, Rio Red, Sunrise and Jaffa Sunrise.

Recipes

You might be surprised to discover that grapefruit is not only for breakfast. When I was researching a post for Inventors' Day earlier this month for my other blog, I happened upon a most interesting recipe for Cheddar Broiled Grapefruit in a book titled Cheese Cookery published by HP Books in 1980. (I was posting on the invention of the cheese slicer:)

Cheddar Broiled Grapefruit
3 grapefruits
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
6 maraschino cherries
Preheat broiler. Use a grapefruit knife or kitchen shears to remove cores from grapefruit. Use a sharp knife to cut around sections. (see quick sectioning tips here)
Place grapefruit on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat, 2 minutes. In a small bowl, toss cheese and brown sugar to combine. Sprinkle evenly over broiled grapefruit. Return to broiler until cheese mixture melts and bubbles. Stir nutmeg and salt into sour cream. Top each grapefruit with a dollop of sour cream mixture. Return to broiler to glaze, about 30 seconds. Garnish with cherries. Makes 6 servings.

I'm leaving a list of additional grapefruit recipe resources down below. I've picked out some really good ones too!!! Perhaps, you should begin with this recipe for Grapefruit Habanero Margarita since I missed National Margarita Day yesterday. The next recipe sounds like fun. It reminds me of recipe I found a while back using lemons. It's one of the recipes enclosed in the Texas Citrus leaflet however, it's also available here with more recipes using "The Magic of the Valley."

Texas Cocktail Squeeze
6 Texas Red Grapefruit
1/2 cup orange flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons rum
drinking straws
Directions:
Roll grapefruit back and forth on hard surface to soften and release juices. Then, with sharp knife or apple corer, make a 1-inch round hole in stem end of grapefruit. Continue to core center of grapefruit, removing seeds, if necessary, and being careful not to puncture bottom of fruit. Combine liqueur and rum; pour into openings, dividing equally. Insert straws for sipping. Grapefruit can be held in the hand for drinking, and squeezed to release more juice. Makes 6 drinks.

Here's an "oldie" I found over at Lidian's Kitchen Retro.
Grape Fruit Lozenges
1 tablespoon Cox’s Gelatine (I'm sure any unflavored gelatin would work)
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

8 tablespoons cold water
1/2 tablespoon corn or golden syrup

4 tablespoons grape fruit juice

Yellow food color
Directions:
Put one-half cup of the confectioner’s sugar and four tablespoonfuls of cold water into a saucepan; when dissolved, add corn syup, bring to the boiling point, add gelatine mixed with remainder of water, grape fruit juice and a few drops of yellow color. Sift remainder of sugar into a bowl, pour hot mixture into center, and allow it to cool. Work it with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spread mixture into a layer one inch thick in a wet pan, allow it to harden, cut into squares and roll in sugar.

Remember that auction I went to a couple of weekends ago? The next recipe comes from one of the books I won! Cook's Illustrated 2005. Yes indeed, a complete bound book of all the Cook's Illustrated Magazines for 2005. I also won complete years for 2000 and 2006!!! So cool...

Grapefruit-Lime Vinaigrette with Mint & Chives
Make sure to remove all white pith and membranes from grapefruit sections destined for garnishing fish.
2 tbs. juice from 1/2 pink grapefruit (remaining 1/2 cut into sections for serving)
2 tbs. juice from 1 to 2 limes
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tbs.)
1 tsp. honey
6 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tbs. chopped fresh chives
table salt & pepper
Directions:
1. Combine grapefruit and lime juices, shallot and honey in medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add olive oil; add mint and chives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside while cooking fish.
2. To serve, whisk vinaigrette to recombine; drizzle vinaigrette over fish fillets and serve immediately with grapefruit sections.

In Australia, grapefruit peel is commercially processed as marmalade. You may just want to "give it a go" at home once you feast your eyes on this recipe for Grapefruit & Ginger Marmalade. Now, look at this recipe for Candied Grapefruit Shells filled with Fruitcake!!!  Wouldn't they make great holiday gifts?

Both grapefruit seed oil and extract are said to have antiseptic qualities. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) was developed by a physicist from Yugoslavia by the name Dr. Jacob Harich. Grapefruit peel is rich with pectin which is used for the preservation of other fruits. Some believe the pectin found in grapefruit may have health benefits in the battle against high cholesterol. The oil from the peel has also been use as soft-drink flavoring. Commercially, it is used in cattle feed or converted into ethanol.

Not only is grapefruit good for you, Grapefruit can be used in natural skincare treatment at home. Whether it be a Refreshing Grapefruit Facial Mask or in the ability to be able to grow your own little grapefruit tree indoors, grapefruit sure does sound like the fruit that just keeps on giving.

Happy Grapefruit Month! Chances are, I won't be visiting or posting while I'm down in New York. (I'm leaving Thursday:) I'm going to try to get a "pre-baked" post up on Sunday with a short list of what food celebrations we can get ready for in March. 

FYI: Today is National Dog Biscuit Day. I guess I'm just going to have to wait until next year to do a post. In the mean time, I sent this recipe for Cleo's Pumpkin Dog Biscuits to my daughter, Michele and she said her Labs just love them!!!

Resources
1. February Is National Grapefruit Month (texas grapefruit recipes)
2. Grapefruit Month in Congress (short NY Times article; notice the date:)
3. Grapefruit: a fruit with a bit of a complex (Art Culinaire, Winter, 2007)
4. Grapefruit Uses
5. Limonin: Health Benefits in Citrus Fruits
6. Ocean Spray celebrates National Grapefruit Month
7. How does Grapefruit Juice affect Medications?
8. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Recipes
1. Honey Lavender Cupcakes with Grapefruit Frosting @ Baa Baa Cupcake
2. Grapefruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting @ Adventures in the Kitchen
3. Ginger and Pink Grapefruit Cheesecake @ Epicurious
4. Grapefruit Berry Turnovers
5. Frozen Grapefruit Shirley Temple @ Mare's Food & Fun
6. Frozen Grapefruit Mousse @ Canadian Living
7. Grapefruit & Shrimp Salad with Honey Soy Dressing
8. Home-made Grapefruit Wine