In-season, ripe grapefruit need no added sugar, as they are almost as sweet as an orange.
When are grapefruit in season?
They are ripe during the colder months, from about December through April. As the fruits ripen on the tree, they get sweeter and larger, and no longer ripen after harvest.
Grapefruit can be stored on the tree without a loss in quality, so later-season grapefruit might be sweeter. However, it’s possible they are picked ahead of time and held in cool storage, to avoid the chance of damage from pests or bad weather.
How to pick: Grapefruits that are heavier for their size are juicier. Scarring on the fruit’s outer peel is perfectly fine. Larger size may indicate it was left longer to ripen on the tree, however this isn’t always the case (depending on variety and other conditions).
How to store: You can leave them on the counter for about a week, or they will last 3 weeks in the fridge.
Should I buy organic?
The non-organic health risk is low for the edible interior flesh. However if you’re using the zest, go organic in case there’s extra pesticide residue on the peel even after scrubbing.
Consumer reports published an interactive infographic based on EPA pesticide tests. They tested the edible portions (for citrus, this did not include the peel), for the toxicity of each pesticide present and the amount of each pesticide. This was then turned into a report that showed the amount of servings needed to eat in a day to exceed the EPA’s levels of “reasonable certainty of no harm” to your health. “Low” levels are close to organic levels.
Now what should I make?
That’s a good question! I scour the internet to find recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, often with a fun twist. Follow Ask The Food Geek on Pinterest or Facebook to get access to the recipes I find every day.
Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as grapefruit, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available.
Grapefruit and persimmon yogurt bowl with gingerbread granola – recipe on Floating Kitchen
Eat at the very start of winter when the end of persimmon season is ending and grapefruit is beginning. Or eat later in winter and use dried persimmons.