Grapefruit are tropical plants that only thrive in warm days and nights. California, Texas and Florida are world renown for their groves, but it originally came from Barbados where grapefruits were dubbed “the forbidden fruit”. Some grapefruit have been growing in the USA for 150 years or better. There are tons of grapefruit varieties, and some are listed below.
- The Foster is a pinkish grapefruit that is medium in size. It is tender and juicy, but may contain as many as 50 seeds inside.
- The Marsh is a “seedless” grapefruit that is more yellowish. It also is about a medium size and grows late into the season.
- The Oroblanco means “white gold” in Spanish. This grapefruit is adapted from the Marsh but has a larger hole in the center. It is easy to peel and is very hardy, thriving even at slightly below freezing temperatures. Its pulp is almost white.
- The Paradise Navel is a hybrid developed in 1976 and is oblate in shape. It has also been grown to be seedless.
- The Red Blush or Ruby Red grapefruit is a sweet tasting fruit. It can grow quite large and has a blush to the rind. It has become famous as the grapefruit from the Texas Rio Grande Valley.
- The Star Ruby has a yellow peel but a deep reddish pulp. It has more sugar and acid than the Ruby Red. As it matures, the “ruby” fades.
- Sweetie grapefruits are a hybrid developed in the 1980s to be the sweetest variety.
- The Thompson is a hybrid of the Marsh grapefruit and is grown to be buff colored inside and to contain a juicy pulp. It is oblate in shape.
- The Triumph or Royal is also called the Isle of Pines grapefruit. It is of a medium size with a light pulp and 33-50 seeds.
Growing grapefruit from seed is not impossible, but it is arduous. Best grown in Zone 9 gardens, it loves a well irrigated loamy soil. Choose a southern exposure area in your garden at least 12 feet away from any buildings. Plant in the spring, but keep them moist through he hot summer months, or plant them in the fall and protect them from frost.
Water several times a week until they sprout well, then deeply water on a weekly basis. Usually grapefruits are harvested in late fall. Once they have turned golden, or bright yellow depending on the variety, they are ready to be picked and can last up to two weeks in or out of refrigeration if not cut open. If the fruit gets lumpy, discard it.
Grapefruit Nutritional Content
An average half of a grapefruit is about 75 calories.
Fiber 2.5 g
Vitamin C 79.1 mg
Potassium 320 mg
Calcium 28 mg
Vitamin A 2132 UI
Sodium 3 mg
Folate 23 mcg
Protein 1.45 g
Grapefruit Heath Benefits
Years ago, grapefruit was the “in” diet food. Everyone from T.V. stars to rock stars were on the grapefruit diet. It is low in sodium and fairly high in the enzymes that help to burn fat. It also contains a good amount of fiber and water. Water consumption can enhance weight loss and help flush out toxins.
And, of course, grapefruits are a great source of Vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. But it also is high in another healthy substance called salicylic acid which breaks down inorganic calcium in the joints, a leading cause for arthritic pain. It is one of the highest in Vitamin A of all the fruits.
Ruby grapefruit is especially rich in licopene, an enzyme that combats cancer cells.
Folk remedies for grapefruit claim it aids digestion and when the juice is applied externally, can be a natural antiseptic.
Grapefruit Cautions and Concerns
Grapefruit can interact with medications. It can even be a fatal reaction, according to the FDA. Be careful drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit for breakfast with some blood pressure, thyroid, and other medications. See the link to the resource from the FDA below for a lot more information regarding grapefruit and medication.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of grapefruits?
Check out these helpful resources:
Grapefruit Health Information: PDF from the FDA.
Grapefruit Growing and Food Uses from Purdue University
Recent recent has also shown that grapefruit has undesirable and even dangerous hormonal interactions. Despite the praise heaped on this fruit by health “experts” in women’s magazines, it is safer to avoid this fruit entirely.
That’s strange. I use grapefruits to heal the acids in my stomach. I suffer from IBS and eating or drinking fresh grapefruit juice calms it. My husband also uses it to keep his colon alkaline since he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Mind you he had to have surgery to remove it but he continues to have grapefruits every morning and has no stomach troubles.
My husband as well. It’s alkaline in nature and helps with inflammation one of the main causes of cancer.
Interesting fruit i have also heard that it makes the effects of antibodics stronger. I think everything in moderation.