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Texas Red Grapefruit

grapefruit7.jpgThe Texas red grapefruit was named the official state fruit in 1993 by the 73rd legislature.  The red grapefruit is grown in the southern part of Texas called the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  Texas currently produces three trademarked varieties of grapefruit.  The Ruby Sweet category includes the famous Ruby Red grapefruit including other red varieties called Henderson and Ray.  The Ruby Sweet has a smooth, yellow skin that has reddish blush blotches on the skin.  He inside flesh is three to five times redder than the Ruby Red.  The Rio Star combines the Rio Red and the Star Ruby grapefruit.  It contains an overall blush on the outside skin with a deep red inside flesh color which is seven to ten time redder than the Ruby Red.  And the Flame is red but not really a bright red.  It does have the same sweet taste as the Ruby Sweet and the Rio Star.  The Flame is only available at certain times from October through May.

The Latin grapefruit name is Citrus Paradisi.  It was first believed that the grapefruit was first discovered in Barbados in the 1750's as a crossbreed of the pummelo.  But years later, research confirmed that grapefruit is actually a crossbreed between the pummelo and the orange.  In the 1800's a Jamaican farmer named the fruit grapefruit because it grows on trees in clusters like grapes.  It is believed that the grapefruit came to the United States through seeds that were brought over either by the Spanish or French settlers.  After landing on another southern state, the grapefruit made its way to South Texas.

The first grapefruit tree was planted in Texas in 1883.  At first the white and pink grapefruit varieties were planted.  A developer from Omaha, John Shary, was impressed by the citrus crop that he believed the citrus fruits were the fruits of the future.  In 1914, John purchased 16,000 acres of land and planted his first grove of white grapefruit.

Grapefruits were first shipped commercially in 1920.  But it was in 1929 when it was discovered that a red grapefruit was growing on a pink grapefruit tree.  This discovery made the Texas Red Grapefruit Industry soar.  There were several red varieties of red grapefruit being shipped all over and it soon became hard to keep track of which became a marketing problem.  So all the red grapefruits were marketed under the name of Ruby Red.  The Ruby Red grapefruit was the first grapefruit to be patented in the United States.  Texas made the decision to get rid of the white and pink varieties of grapefruit after the freezes of 1949, 1951 and 1962.  It was during the 1970's the even redder mutations were produced than the original 1929 red grapefruit. 


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