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Grapefruit – Pucker Up Buttercup

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I grew up loving grapefruit. Though I have to admit that I was one of those who would cut them in half and sprinkle sugar on top. I guess that’s fairly typical for a child. As I started tacking on the years of wisdom, my tastebuds shifted, and I found myself drawn to the lip-puckering enjoyment of their tart and sour taste. I know the pith and membrane hold nutrients, but my all-time favorite way of eating them is to remove the membrane from each segment. It’s not so much to remove the bitterness, but because I find the individual pulp cells so beautiful and fun to squish between my teeth.


Grapefruit trees are evergreen (keep their leaves year-round) and grow to around 16–49 ft tall. The leaves are thin, glossy, dark green, and roughly 6″ long. It produces white, four-petaled flowers, and when they blossom, they produce white, sweet smelling aromatic.

The fruit is yellow-orange skinned and generally grows to 4–6″ in diameter. The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink, and red pulps of varying sweetness (generally, the redder varieties are the sweetest).

Harvesting Grapefruit

Since grapefruits originated in the sub-tropics, they are cold sensitive. When they are ready to be picked depends greatly on differences in temperature. For example, grapefruit may take seven to eight months to ripen in one part of California and up to thirteen months in another part. Grapefruit is sweeter in regions of hot days and warm to hot nights and more acidic in cooler areas.

Not all grapefruits will be ripe at exactly the same moment. This is where color is an indicator of ripeness. Grapefruit should be harvested when at least half of the peel has started to turn yellow or pink. Mature grapefruit may still be green in color, but a better bet is to wait until the fruit turns hue. Remember, the longer the fruit stays on the tree, the sweeter it becomes; so be patient.

Fruits on low branches are picked by hand from the ground; higher fruits are usually harvested by workers on ladders who snap the stems or clip the fruits as required. When ready to pick, simply grasp the ripe fruit in your hand and gently give it a twist until the stem detaches from the tree.


Painted Tree Trunks

Have you ever noticed trees that are painted white on the bottom? Citrus trees have relatively thin bark. Left to their own, they grow more like a shrub than a tree, with shoots growing up at the base and covering the trunk. Without that shading, they need the protection of paint. Once the canopy of the tree is thick and broad enough to shade the trunk the paint isn’t necessary.

Different Types of Grapefruit

White Grapefruit

Pink Grapefruit

Red Ruby Grapefruit

Oro Blanco


Consider the Peel for Nutrients

Overall Tree Uses that Don’t go to Waste


Cautions to Take with Grapefruit

Grapefruit is Acidic

For those who have GERD

Drug Interactions

Inhibits Enzymes CYP3A4


This website is not intended to provide medical advice. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information available on this site is for general informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment. The author of this site is not responsible for any adverse effects that may occur from the application of the information on this site. You are encouraged to make your own healthcare decisions, based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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