Although grapefruit is probably our least known citrus. Its consumption has experienced remarkable growth in recent times . More and more people include it in their weekly menu, and combine its excellent flavor with both sweet and savory dishes. This has led all those who seek to extract the maximum potential of this citrus to want to know more about the grapefruit season.
Grapefruit was traditionally associated with a famous slimming diet. It is true that grapefruit is a powerful diuretic. Its high water content (90%) and fiber, together with its low caloric intake, make it a suitable food in diets aimed at weight reduction. On the other hand, grapefruit improves blood lipid levels and balances blood pressure. Factors that are often associated with obesity problems.
Now, the grapefruit has many more virtues than the best known. We speak both from the gastronomic and nutritional point of view. So much so that the list of grapefruit properties and grapefruit benefits is as long .
Apart from juices and/or consumption as a whole piece during breakfast (especially suitable for replenishing water and minerals lost during sports), grapefruit is an ingredient in salads, biscuits and desserts. Sauces can also be made with it, or used as a filling for main fish or poultry dishes.
In Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world, the use of grapefruit in the preparation of jam, syrups and grapefruit vinegar is common. In preserves the skin is used. Its bark has pectin and limonene (an essential oil), both with high nutritional value.
It is a citrus that is the result of crossing two species: pampelmusa and sweet orange. The above combination gives the fruit of the grapefruit tree (this is the name of the tree from which it grows) a bittersweet flavor almost as characteristic as the peculiar reddish hue it exhibits. This color, by the way, is a consequence of the anthocyanins it contains. Anthocyanins are pigments with great antioxidant power.
Grapefruit cultivation is extraordinarily delicate, since it does not support low temperatures or winds. This citrus grows more easily in slightly sandy and deep soil , although the soil must be free of salinity and not be limestone.
These special climatic needs, more typical of subtropical environments, have meant that grapefruit plantations in our country are not very widespread. However, in warmer areas of the peninsula (such as the Valencian Community, Murcia and Andalusia) grapefruit production began to proliferate.
There are different varieties that are distinguished by the color of their pulp: white or yellow and pinkish. We mention some of each class.
These are divided into different varieties:
- Duncan : Juicy flesh with seeds.
- Marsh : One of the most commercialized. With few or no seeds.
- Oroblanco : Less acid and white gold pulp.
They occur at high temperatures. They are again divided into the following varieties:
- Red Blush : The most cultivated and resistant.
- Pink Marsh : The oldest.
- Sweet: Sweetish flavor.
- Triumph : Strong orange odor
- Star Ruby : With yellowish rind but red flesh.
Now that we have a few facts about this citrus and its varieties, we can talk about the grapefruit season. Grapefruit is a fall and winter fruit. In general, the grapefruit season runs from December to April.
In any case, since there are abundant varieties, it can be brought forward to the end of October-November and last until May. When the grapefruit harvest is late, the sweetness of the fruit is increased. It is possible to extend the late cycle – and with it the grapefruit season – until the following year, guaranteeing a high production and the conservation of the fresh fruit.
For practical purposes, this long grapefruit season means that you can buy grapefruit during almost any month of the year, or at least during a good part of it.
Despite this, we insist on the need to consume seasonal fruits and always respect the grapefruit season for several fundamental reasons:
Taste, smell and texture. A seasonal fruit guarantees the maintenance of these qualities at the time of consumption.
Nutritional properties . The vitamins, minerals and nutrients of the fruit are lost as time goes by.
If a fruit has been collected before it reaches its optimal point of ripeness to reach the establishments and be put on sale. it will not enjoy the qualities or benefits that it would retain if the collection had occurred in the season determined by the natural cycle of the tree.
Sustainability . It is not only that food out of season loses value, it is also that transport in cold rooms, storage and treatment implies Co2 emissions, with the consequent environmental damage and energy expenditure that this implies.
The grapefruit harvesting process can be carried out by using machines or manually. Of course, we lean towards the artisanal method. This is carried out with scissors in order to prevent the fruit from being damaged or losing quality. At most a combined rod technique could be employed.
In any case, the speed in the collection of the fruit should not prevail. It is essential to take care of the cultivation and irrigation during the grapefruit season.
- As well as to carry out the corrections of mineral deficiencies that could be observed. Of course, it is also essential that the quality of the harvest does not suffer any damage during the citrus harvest.
- You already know the reasons why the presence of grapefruits in greengrocers and supermarkets is unusual. The reason is that until now its consumption in Spain was rather low, and grapefruit crops too.
- The demanding climatic conditions that this fruit tree demands to develop and give quality product explain why there were few plantations and marketing was limited.
- Buying oranges , tangerines and lemons has always been the most common, and these three fruits occupied the citrus podium. Despite its proven health benefits, grapefruit remained an underrated fruit. Luckily that is changing.
- On the Mediterranean coast there are already a good number of grapefruit plantations. It is true that a large part of the grapefruit that you will find in certain establishments is imported, frequently from the US.
- Despite this, we firmly defend that there is a better way to bring it to your pantry than by purchasing one from a distance and matured in cold rooms under artificial conditions.