Why Buy Grapefruit?

By : | 0 Comments | On : December 5, 2014 | Category : Fruit Information

A grapefruit from California cut in half

Image via Wikipedia

Most people know that fruit is healthy. Chock-full of vitamins and minerals, it may just be the perfect food. But which kind of fruit is best? In this article we are going to discuss a relatively new addition to the citrus family of fruits, the grapefruit.

Why buy grapefruit? Known primarily as a breakfast fruit, the grapefruit is one of the most popular fruits in the world. Each year, more than five million tons are shipped around the world, half of which come from the United States.

How has the grapefruit attained such success in spite of the fact that it is not a hand fruit? Let us talk a moment to review the history of this mysterious fruit.

The grapefruit was first encountered on the island of Barbados in 1750. It was spotted by a Welch botanist who had been commissioned to document the flora and fauna of the West Indies. In time, however, it was discovered that the grapefruit did not, in fact, originate on Barbados, but rather on the island of Jamaica.

We know this because the grapefruit is actually a hybrid fruit, a cross between a Jamaican orange and an Indonesian pomelo. And since neither of these fruits grew on Barbados at the time, the fruit could not have originated there.

We also know that pomelo seeds were brought to Jamaica sometime during the 17th century by an English captain by the name of Shaddock. Whether he was responsible for the first grapefruit crop is unknown, but Jamaicans still call grapefruit “shaddock” to this day.

When the fruit finally made it way to Florida in 1823, few people wanted to buy grapefruit. This may have been because the state was awash in oranges or because condiments like sugar were hard to come by at the time. And the early grapefruit was much sourer than the fruit we know today.

A half a century later, the grapefruit made its way to South Texas where the climate and soil were more amenable to tropical fruit production. Unfortunately, the local population still would not buy grapefruit. It was not until 1929 when a new grapefruit variation was discovered that farmers actually entertained the idea of a commercial grapefruit industry.

This new fruit had red flesh instead of white or pink and it was said to be far sweeter than the other varieties. In no time at all, people actually agreed to buy grapefruit. In fact, a massive grapefruit industry dominated by the new variety, which had been dubbed the “Ruby,” sprung up almost overnight. Today, Texas is the second leading US producer of grapefruit after Florida. The two states are responsible for more than eighty percent of the US total. And the new “Ruby” red grapefruit variety is currently the most popular grapefruit in the world.

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