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Wake Up Your Plate and Palate with Grapefruit

Salads, desserts and drinks get a zesty spring zing with this delicious citrus fruit.

Fresh grapefruit for spring
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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A squeeze of citrus juice is a bit of universally delicious alchemy. It wakes up salad dressings, soups, seafood, desserts—everybody wins with a little hit of sweet-sour tang.

Lemons, limes and oranges can take a break, though, to make space for the zesty, juicy wonder that is a grapefruit.

Grapefruit is a nutritional powerhouse, offering vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, a truckload of antioxidants and assistance to the body’s ability to absorb iron. 

It’s also a beauty, with its pale pink color and generous juices. 

And even more deliciously, it plays beautifully with others, particularly creamy or rich foods that can use some freshness to lighten their profiles. Favorite friends of grapefruit, all perfect to combine in a light spring salad, include:

  • Avocado
  • Crabmeat
  • Fennel
  • Feta or goat cheese
  • Other tangy fruits, like pomegranate

Cutting grapefruit into attractive segments to lay across your salad plate is an easy and satisfying task. 

Start by slicing the top and bottom off of a washed grapefruit (if you’re using zest, remove it before this step. Set the grapefruit with one cut side on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, work from top to bottom to slice the peel off the grapefruit. Be sure to trace your cut just on the inside of the white section of the fruit, called the pith, which is bitter. 

Once you’ve removed all the skin, pick up your fruit with clean hands and take note of the membranes that separate each segment. Carefully slice segments out into long wedge shapes by cutting on each side of every membrane. Ease the segments out of the fruit onto a plate.

Don’t forget to give your segmented grapefruit a strong squeeze when you’ve finished. Try as you might, there’s likely to be some precious juicy pulp left in there that will give you a sip of perfectly tangy juice or head straight into your salad dressing.

Grapefruit’s abilities don’t stop at salad, of course. It is also a (literally) refreshing change from lemon, lime or orange in baked goods from sugar cookies to pound cakes. Grapefruit juice and zest can be exchanged for other citruses in curds and puddings, and they can also wake up a sparkly drink, paired with mint or sweet basil.

Unfortunately, grapefruit’s digestive benefits can backfire on people who take certain types of medications, as grapefruit’s chemical makeup can concentrate drug levels in the bloodstream. Some of these include blood pressure medications, anti-anxiety medications and some cancer medications. Always check with your doctor’s office if you are unsure about whether grapefruit could interact with your medication.

And then take heart, because this is where the range of options within the citrus family step back up to the, ahem, plate.

How do you enjoy grapefruit?

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