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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Rio Star Grapefruit

There is nothing more decadent in the world of Texas fruit than a juicy ripe Rio Star grapefruit in the month of January.  IMHO of course.  The smell, the taste, the richness of has it all.  I know I'm prejudiced, being a native Texan, but it is truly a glorious fruit.  I learned to like grapefruit from the time I spent the night with a friend as a young girl.  Her mom was serving grapefruit halves for breakfast...and I, being as picky of an eater as my oh-so-picky teen, declined saying I didn't like them, they were too tart.  This coming from a girl who would cut a lemon in quarters and eat them for a snack.  My little friend's momma just smiled and spooned sugar all over the top and said "try this"...and it was the beginning of a long and wonderful love affair with the grapefruit...Ruby Reds, Rio Stars...the gloriously rich coral pigments of a beautiful ripe grapefruit.  Oh my, I could wax on and on about it. 

THEN, we came to Donna, Texas to visit my Grandmother for the first time in my young memory.  My Daddy sent us out to the grapefruit trees growing in the yard and said "go eat some grapefruit".  There were all of those delicious grapefruit hanging at eye level of a little girl...but how to peel them?  Where's the sugar?  Someone, I can't recall who but probably my Dad, ripped the skin right off them and handed each of us girls a grapefruit.  We separated the segments and went to town on those grapefruits...we were coated with sticky sweet tart juice and I ate so many I remember feeling queasy.  No need for sugar on those sweetly tart things!  Donna, the Rio Grande Valley, just a hop, skip, and a jump from my current home...where I fell in LOVE with the jewel of the winter fruit season.

This morning I decided I would section a couple of the Rio Stars sitting in my fruit basket (I like them room temperature for the best flavor) and have them for dessert after my lunchtime sandwich.  I wasn't thinking about writing a blog until I started the process of sectioning them.  I only learned to do it a few years ago...and now I never peel a grapefruit. 

I used to try to cut the peel, I used a spoon to get under the peel, I cut a grapefruit in half and scooped out the flesh with a spoon, I dug under the peel with my fingernails and ate the segments like oranges...they were always a lot of work.  On top of all that work, there was usually pith still on the fruit...and it just doesn't taste's bitter; until I learned to section them, that is.  Now, I get a glorious bowl of cleanly sectioned grapefruit with minimal fuss and muss.  When I'm finished, I pour the juice from the cutting board into the bowl and I have a bowl of fresh goodness, slurping the juice straight from the bowl when I'm finished...bad manners, but good I do it, bad manners aside.  It makes me salivate just thinking about it...because of course, I sat down to type up this post before eating my bowl of grapefruit sections.  However, I know it is sitting there waiting for me whenever I'm finished.  It's like the carrot in front of the plow mule...hurry up and get finished and I'll get my reward.

I wondered if folks realized how easy it was to section a grapefruit...and if not, I figured I could take enough photos to demonstrate.  So, here goes...

Use a very sharp knife on a sturdy cutting board.  Cut off both ends of the grapefruit.

Set the grapefruit on one of the flat ends and slice around the curve of the fruit, removing the skin and the white pith.
Clean up any pithy spots you missed, turning it over to see both ends. 

Lay the grapefruit on its side to begin the sectioning process.
Insert your knife between the membrane and the pulp, as close as you can get and slice in until you feel the center of the fruit, remove your knife and place it on the other side of the section, slicing down again until you feel the center.  Remove the first segment.
Move to the inner edge of the next segment and, again, slice down to the center of the fruit...but this time, pivot your knife to the right, sliding it to underside of the far side of the can feel it.
And just repeat all the way around :-)  Here I am on the last segment of this grapefruit.
You end up with this....beautiful, juicy segments of Rio Star heaven!!!  Be careful - don't cut yourself.  Once you get the hang of it, you will never go back to eating these juicy citrus nuggets any other way!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon


  1. woot! send me a grapefruit will ya?? LOL these do look so yummy. gotta get my Wusthofs sharpened!

  2. That's one lovely peeling job!
    I am always scared of grapefruit (sour foods and me... not so much), but the color is lovely!


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