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In Season: Grapefruit Is February's Citrus Choice

Posted Feb 07 2011 11:57am


You might associate fresh fruit with summer, but when it comes to citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines, the best time to get them is winter. This is especially true of Florida grapefruit, which are at the peak of availability in February.

Most people associate grapefruit with diets, and with good reason--it's lower in calories than other fruit. One-half of a medium grapefruit contains only 60 calories. With fewer than 100 calories per 8-ounce serving, grapefruit juice contains fewer calories than similar servings of 100 percent fruit juices.

But even if you're not counting calories, the grapefruit offers a winter boost of helpful nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid.

Grapefruit is delicious all by itself, but you can also add grapefruit to salsas and use its juice instead of vinegar in salad dressings.

"I love grapefruit," says Anne Quatrano, executive chef and co-owner of several Atlanta restaurants. Grapefruit finds its way into just about every course on her menus when it's in season. "We are roasting grapefruit to caramelize and extract the flavors and use it as a component for a foie gras dish. I love the way it cuts the richness of lobster to make it even better.

You can also turn grapefruit into a healthy, sweet dessert: Cut juicy pink grapefruit in half and run under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the natural sugars inside.

Grapefruit even pairs nicely with an unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay, says Janet Trefethen, a California winemaker. "The bright acidity and citrus character of the wine would play beautifully with the dish and I think they would complement each other. Yum, I'd like a bite please."

One health note: Certain compounds in grapefruit can interfere with the way some medications are metabolized including statin drugs and calcium channel blockers. So check with your physician or pharmacist to be sure.

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