Celebrating grapefruit | Vancouver Sun

Source: vancouversun.com

Life is like a pink grapefruit. It’s brilliantly hued, sweet, sour, bitter, fragrant, lovely, invigorating, and always surprising.

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In the winter, my husband is a grapefruit fiend. He spends the shoulder months between the end of seasonal fruit and the beginning of grapefruit season complaining about the lack of good fruit and hunting down the perfect honey crisp apple. Occasionally he succeeds and basks in the triumph of finding a good apple.

When grapefruit season kicks in, where they’re from can make or break his mood. They have to be from Texas, though he will grudgingly eat them from elsewhere. His ideal grapefruit is bursting with juice and with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter.

I don’t have the same kind of obsession with fruit as he does, though I will bring home specimens that I deem worthy. I’m glad he eats them because I love the scent when he peels them. It’s uplifting in a way that no other scent is.

I’m remembering grapefruit spoons, and curved grapefruit knives and wondering if anyone still uses them. When I was growing up we had both and I used them because they were a novelty. And the grapefruit diet, which was basically a keto way of eating with a glass of grapefruit juice or half a grapefruit with every meal. And home economics class where we learned to section a grapefruit half, broil it under a blanket of brown sugar and serve it garnished with half a maraschino cherry.


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I wonder what and who made grapefruit eating so fussy with the spoons and segmenting. Few other fruits are offered such royal treatment. Even though they’re royalty, or treated like they are, they’re not a common recipe ingredient. Oranges get more airplay and, while the orange is a fine fruit, it lacks the snap and the brilliance that the grapefruit offers.

The Forrest Gump quote of “life is like a box of chocolates” always struck me as odd. Life is more like a pink grapefruit. It’s brilliantly hued, sweet, sour, bitter, fragrant, lovely, invigorating, and always surprising.

Pink Grapefruit Pate de Fruits

This version of pate de fruits is a lightly chewy confection that captures the flavour of grapefruit without dulling it with an excessive amount of sweetener.

Pomona’s Universal Pectin, unlike “regular” pectin, can be used without sugar, so it’s great when you want a fully fruit-flavoured jam, or a treat such as this one. You can add whatever sweetener you like or none at all. Natural food stores are the place to find it.

2 cups (500 mL) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

1/3 cup (80 mL) honey or equivalent in preferred sweetener

5 tsp (25 mL) Pomona’s Universal Pectin

2 tsp (10 mL) calcium water

Before you start, make the calcium water according to the instructions in the box. Lightly oil an 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10-cm) loaf pan or spray with non-stick spray.

Place 1 cup (250 mL) grapefruit juice in the blender. Add the pectin and blend until dissolved.


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Place the remaining grapefruit in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the honey, calcium water and juice/pectin mixture. Return to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into the prepared pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Cut into 24 or so small squares to serve. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week between layers of parchment paper.

Makes 24 pieces.

Thai Style Grapefruit Salad

This can be eaten on its own and is a great accompaniment to salmon, scallops, chicken or pork.

2 tbsp (30 mL) neutral-flavoured vegetable oil

2 large pink grapefruit

1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice

Zest of 1/2 a lime

2 tsp (10 mL) fish sauce

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

1 Thai chili, thinly sliced

1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

Peel and segment the grapefruit into a sieve over a bowl to catch the juice, removing any seeds from the segments as you go. Save the juice for drinking.

Gently fold in the remaining ingredients up to the avocado. Check the seasoning for a pleasing balance of salt, sweet and sour, and adjust to taste.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the peanuts.

Makes 4 servings.

Pink Grapefruit Bars

The thin layer of grapefruit curd is balanced by the sturdy, brown sugar shortbread crust. Use a microplane to zest the grapefruit if you have one.


1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking powder


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1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar

3/4 cup (180 mL) unsalted butter, softened


1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) pink grapefruit zest

3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup (180 mL) pink grapefruit juice

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350º F (175º C). Grease a 9 x 9-inch (22.5 x 22.5-cm) pan with cooking spray, oil or softened butter. Line with parchment paper.

For the crust, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter and knead it in with your hands to form a stiff dough. Transfer to the prepared pan and press it in evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

For the filling, combine the sugar, zest and flour, and whisk until evenly distributed. Add the eggs and egg yolk, and whisk just until smooth. Whisk in the grapefruit juice.

Pour over the crust and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the filling has set and jiggles slightly in the centre. Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate for about an hour until cold. Cut into 25 squares and dust with the icing sugar before serving.

Makes 25 pieces.



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