I can’t think of a popular breakfast that’s more simple and wholesome than half a grapefruit and a spoon. Of course, there’s more to this humble citrus than first meets the eye.
For one, it’s a little known fact that the grapefruit is actually a hybrid. First bred as a cross between a pomelo and a sweet orange, the grapefruit has since become a staple in fruit bowls and juice bottles everywhere. It’s now a distinct fruit with many varieties; with each having different sugar content and acidity (redder flesh tends to make for a sweeter grapefruit). Based on that, your culinary applications can have slightly different results.
Start by picking a ripe grapefruit. You should look for fruit with a plump-yet-firm quality. If you’re looking to use the zest, always choose an organic grapefruit and find a fruit with smoother skin. You can store grapefruit at room temperature for up to a week.
Juicing is the easiest and a very healthy way to get grapefruit into your diet at any time of day. Your fresh juice can also form the base of a cocktail, alcoholic or virgin. Think about mixing fresh squeezed grapefruit juice with a dash of grenadine, Campari and gin topped up with soda water for a refreshing spritzer. Tequila fan? Try making a margarita using sweet grapefruit juice instead of lime for a zesty treat. You can also make a delicious flavoured syrup or cordial to concentrate the flavour.
On its own or in a fruit salad, grapefruit is delicious. But as a chef, I’m always looking to elevate flavours. One simple and amazing way to enjoy a simple sliced grapefruit is to sprinkle it with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, then place under a broiler, just long enough to caramelize the sugar. It may be hard to go back to plain grapefruit again after you try this technique.
From a culinary standpoint, like other citrus, there are innumerable ways to use grapefruit in your cooking. Using fresh juice is fantastic for marinating everything from chicken and pork to beef, and even wild game. Try adding grapefruit to your fresh salsa and serving with white fish. Why not try making a grapefruit chutney, and serving it on your charcuterie and cheese plate as a delicious spread. Use grapefruit juice instead of lemon when making a salad dressing, and include the fruit in your hot or cold grain salad. You can also use it in your baking to lend a unique flavour to your cookies, cake frosting or muffins.
Perhaps my favourite way to enjoy grapefruit though, is in a frozen sorbet. It’s a great refreshment at any time of year.