The pomelo was discovered in Jamaica in around 1800 by the Dutch. Its name came from the Dutch pomplemoes, which means "large lemon". This fruit was inedible but, even though vitamin C had not been discovered at the time, it was thought to be of medicinal importance.
The Dutch West India Company transported shrubs to the Caribbean at the end of the 17th century and replanted them there.
And it was there, in Barbados, that the pollen of a young pomelo tree mixed with the pollen of an orange tree and gave birth to a new kind of tree, which was later named the grapefruit.
The seeds of this grapefruit were sown in Florida in the early 19th century by a Spanish emigrant, who was from the island where this grapefruit was born. This resulted in the immense orchards in Florida, which is the world's leading producer of grapefruit.
A grapefruit must always be firm and heavy in the hand, have smooth and shiny skin that is well stuck to the flesh. Its color is not a sign of maturity.
The pinker a grapefruit's flesh, the sweeter it is.
Grapefruits undergo the same preservation processes as oranges (thiabendazole or diphenyl), which protect them from mold. Untreated grapefruit is more suitable if the zest is needed.
Grapefruits are sold fresh and individually.
They are also used to make juice and vinegar.
Oil can be extracted from the seeds.
Grapefruit is mostly eaten as it is, simply cut in half, as an appetizer or dessert. In the latter case, sugar is sprinkled on top and it is sometimes put under the broiler. It also appears in salads, both savory and sweet, after it has been peeled and segmented.
In a savory salad, it goes well with avocado and shrimp. The salad can be served in the hollow skins.
Its zest is used like lemon zest.
Grapefruit is used to make ice creams, sorbets, cakes, and various desserts.
It is also used to make candied fruit and marmalade.
Grapefruits should be stored at room temperature in a cool place or in the refrigerator.
The grapefruit is thought to have numerous medicinal properties, including as an aid to weight loss (it gave its name to a catastrophic diet), which is absolutely false.
Rich in vitamin C (as all citrus fruits are), grapefruit also contains flavonoids (especially the pink ones). The combination of these antioxidants gives the grapefruit protective properties.
But it can also slow down the effect of certain drugs. This is why grapefruit juice
should never be used to swallow tablets.