The grapefruit has been a popular fruit in America for countless years. In some households, in fact, half a grapefruit or even a glass of grapefruit juice is a very normal part of a standard breakfast. Larger than an orange and with inner flesh that can range from pale yellow to deep pink, the grapefruit has a tangy, sweet flavor that sets it apart from the other citrus fruits. But like the other members of the citrus family, the grapefruit and its abundant juices are also loaded with nutrients that make it a healthy part of any diet.
The grapefruit is the fruit of a citrus tree (Citrus × paradisi) that originated on the island of Barbados in the 1600-1700s. The fruit is a hybrid of the Jamaican sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and the Indonesian pomelo (Citrus maxima). One theory about the origin is that European sailors brought pomelo seeds to the West Indies and the hybrid grapefruit arose naturally due to the commingling of the two species. The name grapefruit seems to have been given because of the way the fruit grows in clusters on the tree like grapes.
Grapefruit trees grow in similar warm climates as orange trees and other citrus fruits. They can grow up to 20 feet high and have dark green leaves and large white flowers. Most grapefruit is yellow when ripe and can be 4-6 inches in diameter. The inner flesh tends to be very juicy and pale yellow in color, but there are more recently developed varieties that have dark pink or red pulp. At 9.3 million tonnes produced annually, the grapefruit is behind only the orange and lemon in terms of quantity of citrus fruit. Though it is grown in the United States, Mexico, and Vietnam, the majority of grapefruit is now grown in China.
Fresh grapefruit is a welcome sight at many breakfast tables, and it can even be used in more unconventional ways—like adding zing to a salad. Yet it’s the contrasting sweet and sour flavor of grapefruit juice that sets it apart from its citrus cousins. In food production settings, grapefruit juice concentrates and essences are useful in many applications, from hard seltzers to nutraceuticals. Regardless of the application, though, grapefruit juice is loaded with nutrients that are associated with numerous health benefits:
Drinking grapefruit juice is a healthy choice for almost anyone, but there are some benefits that are really only conferred by eating grapefruit. There is some dietary fiber content in the juice (particularly if it has pulp), but you would need to eat the fruit itself to have a meaningful impact on digestive concerns like constipation. There are also some minor risks associated with grapefruit juice. For instance, drinking grapefruit juice might have side effects for people taking statins; it can also inhibit cytochrome P450, an enzyme that helps metabolize certain medications. Also, the citric acid can erode tooth enamel if consumed in large quantities.
FruitSmart uses only the best fruits from select growers in the United States and around the world to make our high-quality juices, concentrates, essences, purees, and dry ingredients. Grapefruit juice is a popular flavor that can enhance a wide variety of beverages and food products. We are passionate about working with you to create the perfect recipe that will deliver quality, health, and flavor to your customers. If you’d like to learn more about working with FruitSmart, please contact us today.