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Time to eat: South African grapefruit

Time to eat: South African grapefruit
During my childhood I never liked grapefruit. But there must have been a time, like with most food, that I came round to it. Perhaps I took to the juice first – it has been a resident in my fridge for some years now – I don't think there's a thirst-quencher quite like it.
 
My mother, who never usually ate breakfast during the week, would choose a grapefruit as her weekend pick-me-up. Sometimes with brown sugar, sometimes without, halved then cut into segments with a serrated knife with a bent blade – it always intrigued me.
 
But for an eight-year-old, the taste was too strong, too bitter for an early-morning snack – I was happy enough with with my cereal.

But there must have been a time, like with most food, that I came round to the fruit. Perhaps I took to the juice first – it has been a resident in my fridge for some years now – I don't think there's a thirst-quencher quite like it.
 
Its flavour – that sharp, refreshing twang - is something I now crave on a morning – it's the natural, more healthy equivalent of a strong cup of coffee – I can finally see where my Mum was coming from.
 
But, as with all fruit – the flesh is even more rewarding than the juice. At its best at room temperature, it's much firmer than its other citrus cousins but just as flexible in the kitchen.
 
We're just about to enter prime Grapefruit season – they are imported from all over the world but nowhere are they better than from South Africa, which has that warm climate which is so good for producing naturally sweet, soft fruits.
 
To my mind, one of the best varieties is the Star Ruby, its yellow peel contrasting with the deep red flesh which is much sweeter than other varieties
Time to eat: South African grapefruit
– so much so that there's no need to top it with sugar.
 
It's a fruit jam-packed with health boosting goodies, including a heavy hit of vitamin c, potassium and folic acid.
 
The good news doesn't stop there either. In 2004 a study by The Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center in the USA revealed that consuming half a grapefruit or a glass of its juice every day can lead to weight loss.
 
Have it for breakfast, but there are plenty of other ways to get the most out of this underrated, punchy little fruit.
 
With mackerel
It's a surprising duo this one, but it works a treat. Best done simply – floured then fried mackerel and segments of grapefruit. If a wedge of lemon can do wonders for a piece of fish, then so can grapefruit.
 
In a cocktail
The punchy, unique flavour of grapefruit juice means it needs some pretty sturdy partners in the glass, but try it with gin and lots of ice. Grapefruit mojitos on a summer's day aren't bad either.
 
Grilled - for nineteen seventies nostalgia
Probably the best way to do serve this fruit and it makes an easy, five-minute treat. A dusting of brown sugar, a hot grill, and a dollop of yoghurt to cut through the sticky caramel. Ground ginger or cardamom seeds can be sprinkled on top before grilling too.
 
In curd
If, when it comes to lemon curd, you sit firmly in the tart and tangy camp as opposed to the sweet and sickly camp, you could do worse than substitute your lemon juice for grapefruit juice.
 
With smoked duck
The fruit works brilliantly with the smoky, savoury duck in a salad, which can be given an oriental polish with some Chinese leaves and sesame seeds.
 
For more great ideas, visit www.beautifulcountrybeautifulfruit.co.uk
 
Need to know:
South African grapefruit are mainly grown in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa. They are available in UK supermarkets between May and September. Modern grapefruit varieties, particularly red, no longer require sugar, as they are sweet enough.
 
They're not all the same:
Marsh grapefruits are seedless and have pale-yellow peel and flesh. They are extremely juicy and rich in flavour.
Star Ruby has a yellow peel distinctly red-blushed and has an intensely red flesh. The texture is smooth and the taste is sweeter than many other varieties. Red Blush has a rich blush red colour to the flesh and rind. They have a sweet flavour and fewer seeds than other varieties.
 
The science bit:
An excellent source of Vitamin C (36mg per 100g)
High in Potassium and Folic acid
Low in fat and calories
Rich in antioxidants, which help to improve our immune systems grapefruits are seedless and have pale-yellow peel and flesh.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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