13 Different Types of Grapefruit (Plus Benefits, Trivia, and Recipes)

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The grapefruit was the result when the sweet orange and pomelo were accidentally bred together in Barbados. In the 1800s, a Jamaican farmer called it “grapefruit” because it has a similar flavor to the grape. The fruit only became popular beginning in the late 19th century and was formerly only grown as an ornamental plant.

It was also often mistaken as pomelo and was only differentiated as a different fruit in the 1830s. China is now the world’s leading producer of grapefruit followed by the U.S. and Mexico.

Types

Duncan Grapefruit

Whole and a half slice of duncan grapefruit with leaves on white background.

The Duncan grapefruit comes from Florida and is very large and yellow in color. It is a very flavorful and juicy type of grapefruit, and, because it is used so often for juicing purposes, it is a very seedy variety. It is one of the oldest types of grapefruits, and it ripens early and has incredible flavor. The Duncan grapefruit is sweeter than the seedless varieties of grapefruit, and it is considered a very high-quality fruit.

Flame Grapefruit

Whole and slices of flame grapefruit.

As the name indicates, the Flame grapefruit has a dark-pink color that is much more pronounced and noticeable than the classic Ruby Red grapefruit. It is juicy and very sweet. It has little to no seeds, and the fruit ripens on the trees from November to May. They also remain on the trees for a long time, which means that you can put them in a container if you like.

Lavender Gem Grapefruit

The Lavender Gem grapefruit is a combination grapefruit-tangelo hybrid, and it resembles a mini-grapefruit. It has pinkish-blue flesh and a few small seeds. It also has a light, delicate flavor, and either a pink blush or lemon-yellow rind. Also called a tangelolo or pink tangelo, it is extremely juicy and can be used for juicing, marinades, beverages, and in fruit salads.

Marsh Seedless Grapefruit

Marsh Seedless Grapefruit hanging on a tree.

This is the most popular type of grapefruit, and its flesh is yellow-white in color, which is one reason it is also called the White Marsh grapefruit. With yellow skin and a sweet, acidic taste, it also comes in varieties that include the Pink Marsh, which has yellow skin and flesh that is pink-bluish in color and a less sweet and acidic flesh than the White Marsh, and the Ruby Red Marsh, which has red flesh, yellow to pale-red skin, and a taste that is sweeter and less acidic than the White Marsh grapefruit.

Melogold Grapefruit

A hybrid made of a grapefruit and a pomelo, the Melogold grapefruit originated in California in the late 1950s. They come in various sizes and can get quite large. They taste like oranges with a slight grapefruit taste, and they are extremely juicy. They also have rinds that are easy to peel and very smooth, and they have very few seeds in them.

Oro Blanco Grapefruit

Two whole pieces and a half slice of Oro Blanco Grapefruits on wooden background.

The Oro Blanco grapefruit is a cross between a standard grapefruit and a pomelo. Its name means “white gold” in Spanish, and it has a thick rind and yellow skin. It is almost completely seedless, and it is juicy and sweet. It also has no acidity or bitterness, so its taste is delicious.

Pink Grapefruit

A whole and a half slice of pink grapefruit on white background.

Without a doubt, the pink grapefruit is one of the best-tasting grapefruits in existence, and it is perfect for juicing as well. Its taste is slightly tangy, and these grapefruits are found between the red and white grapefruits when it comes to both the sweetness and the color. Most people consider the taste to be both sweet and sour.

Pomelos

A whole and slices of pomelos on wooden background.

Many grapefruits are hybrids of oranges and pomelos, and the latter are lime-green or yellow in color, very large, and do great in salads. The pomelo also has a very mellow flesh and thick, bitter pith. It is also very easy to peel. Also known as the Chinese grapefruit, the pomelo is the largest citrus fruit there is, and it is very prominent in the Chinese New Year.

Red Grapefruit

Red grapefruits

Most experts agree that the redder a grapefruit’s flesh is, the sweeter the flavor is, but when it comes to red grapefruits, the taste isn’t quite that sweet. In fact, red grapefruits can be very bitter, but on the other hand, the color itself comes from the lycopene inside, which is an antioxidant that has been proven to fight cancer. It also contains a lot of the antioxidant known as beta-carotene.

Star Ruby Grapefruit

Star Ruby Grapefruits hanging on a tree.

With grapefruits, the redder the flesh is, the sweeter the grapefruit is. Star Ruby grapefruits have smooth yellow skin, deep-red and pink flesh, and a tart and sweet taste.

Sweeties Grapefruit

Sweeties Grapefruit

Sweeties grapefruits are a cross between a standard grapefruit and a pomelo. As their name indicates, they are a sweet variety of grapefruit, and they are green in color.

Thompson Grapefruit

Thompson grapefruits have been around since 1913 as a pink-flesh variety of the Marsh Seedless grapefruit. Also called the Pink Marsh, it was propagated in 1924 in Florida and is widely grown in Texas. It is seedless and matures from October through February; however, its fruit is able to remain on the tree for several months. The trees grow up to 25 feet, and they look and taste almost identical to the Marsh Seedless grapefruit.

White Grapefruit

Half slices of White Grapefruit on wooden background.

White grapefruits have a creamy yellow skin and are the least-sweet of all grapefruits in existence. However, if you want a grapefruit with an intense aroma and the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness, white grapefruits are the ones you want. White grapefruits are also perfect for use in fruit drinks and syrups, which is one of the reasons that they are popular with commercial growers. The juice is colorless, and both the Ruby and pink grapefruits are bred from the white grapefruit.

Health Benefits of Eating Grapefruits

A Heart-Healthy Fruit

Slices of grapefruit on a wooden bowl and wooden background.

The Ruby Red grapefruit, in particular, not only gets its color from lycopene, which is good for the cardiovascular system, but it also contains various vitamins that are great for the heart. These include potassium, choline, and of course, Vitamin C. Studies have even proven that grapefruit can have a great effect on your blood lipid levels, including triglycerides, so if you want to boost your heart health, eating grapefruit is a great way to start.

Good for Keeping Yourself Hydrated

Many different fruits have high water contents and are very hydrating, including melons, grapes, and peaches, but grapefruit is roughly 90% water, so it has more water than any other type of fruit. Since the body is made up mostly of water, you need a lot of it every day in order to survive, and eating grapefruits are one of the best ways to get your daily intake of water.

Good for the Immune System

A glass of grapefruit juice surrounded by slices of grapefruits.

Grapefruits have very few calories, antioxidants, a lot of water, and a good bit of fiber, but they also have large quantities of Vitamins A and C. In fact, some studies have proven that eating grapefruit regularly is a great way to ward off colds. If you already have a cold, grapefruit can shorten the length of your illness. In senior citizens and the very young, increasing their immunity is important, so adding grapefruit to your diet is smart for many reasons.

Good for Keeping Your Weight Down

Although fad diets don’t usually work, the “grapefruit” diet is a great way to eat healthier, get a better figure or physique, and lose a few extra pounds. For the most part, all you have to do is eat half a grapefruit before every meal, and this high-fiber, low-calorie food can help you eat less and lose weight in the process. Slimming-up for bikini season has never been so easy … or tasty.

Having Good Cholesterol Is Now a Lot Easier

Top view of a grapefruit juice and slices of the fruit.

There have been numerous studies on the effects of eating grapefruits on your cholesterol. Both red and white grapefruits can help you decrease your LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” type of cholesterol. There is even a study done on people who have had bypass surgery, and when given grapefruits every day, their LDL cholesterol was lowered significantly.

The Proof Is in the Pith

When you’re eating a grapefruit, it can be tempting to throw away the pith – the white spongy part located in between the different parts of the grapefruit – but don’t. Although it can taste a little bitter, the pith has lots of vitamins, antioxidants, and soluble fiber. It has also been thought to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, as well as lower your blood sugar.

More Dieting Help

Grapefruit skin peeling

In addition to helping reduce your appetite to cause weight loss, eating grapefruits also helps increase your metabolism, which helps you burn fat much faster to help you lose those extra pounds even more quickly. In fact, one study has proven that simply eating half a grapefruit before each meal, even if this is your only dietary change, can help you lose up to three pounds per week. In addition, this “diet” can also make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which is always a benefit when you’re trying to lose weight.

Making Things Less Stressful

If you’re trying to reduce your stress level, try adding grapefruits to your diet. In fact, just the smell of grapefruit can reduce the amount of stress that you feel. Much like aromatherapy oils – which you can also use in place of real citrus fruits – the scent given off by grapefruits can reduce depression, anxiety, and basic stress. It gives you a better sense of peace and calm and helps improve your mind, spirit, and body. Try it first thing in the morning to start your day off just right.

Keeping Your Gums Healthy

Slices of grapefruits on wooden background.

Eating grapefruits – two per day, to be exact – is a great way to reduce gum disease. It can repair gums, reverse gum disease, reduce the amount of bleeding from gum disease, prevent gum disease in the first place, and even help keep your teeth in place. This is in large part due to the high amounts of Vitamin C found in grapefruits, and it is a simple and painless way to make sure that your gums are healthy.

Kidney Stones Can Be Gone

If you find yourself with kidney stones, try drinking large quantities of grapefruit juice every day. There is a naturally occurring compound in grapefruits known as Naringenin, which regulates the protein called PKD2. PKD2 is responsible for kidney cysts and stones, and since grapefruits have Naringenin, you can actually block the formation of stones and cysts by drinking grapefruit juice. In addition, grapefruits also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling in your kidneys, therefore reducing the chances of getting kidney stones or cysts.

Get More Energy

Grapefruits and splashes of water on white background.

Nootkatone is a rare compound that is found in grapefruits, and it is one of the main reasons that grapefruits smell so good. However, nootkatone also activates AMP, which increases your metabolism, boosts your energy, and gives you better endurance. The compound also reduces your chances of getting diabetes, so the compound has numerous health benefits.

Tummy Troubles, Anyone?

Despite the fact that grapefruit is slightly acidic, they are great for indigestion and numerous other tummy problems. It can relieve constipation, reduce or remove flatulence, treat and urinary tract infections, and it makes an excellent probiotic, as well. Grapefruits prevent too much acid from forming, stimulate the colon for better digestion, and relax arteries and blood vessels, preventing some kidney and liver problems from occurring.

Curing a Fever Made a Little Easier

Closeup of a slice of grapefruit.

Finally, grapefruits are great at getting rid of a fever. If you combine grapefruit juice with a little water and drink it, it can get rid of that overall warm feeling your body gets when you’re sick, and it does so rather quickly. In addition, grapefruit juice will quench your thirst, hydrate your body, help you get well a lot faster, and help with a number of other illnesses, as well. In fact, grapefruit has even been shown to cure diseases such as malaria, thanks to its natural amount of quinine, which results from boiling the fruit and then straining the pulp. So, if you’re sick, drinking grapefruit juice is a very smart thing to do.

Miscellaneous Benefits

Grapefruit can also:

  • Reduce blood pressure: it does this because its high potassium levels neutralize the negative effects of sodium
  • Speed up the healing of a wound, since its high content of Vitamin C is equal to roughly 120% of the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin
  • Reduce your blood sugar: because of its low glycemic index (GI) of 25, grapefruit never raises your blood sugar level and can, in fact, reduce it somewhat

Interesting Facts about Grapefruits

Slices of different types of grapefruits on white background.

Great for Your Diet

Grapefruits are great for losing weight, not only because they increase your metabolism, but also because they are extremely low in calories – roughly 40 calories for half of a grapefruit. It is also very high in fiber, which most experts agree can make losing weight a lot easier to do.

A Very Colorful Fruit

The grapefruit comes in numerous colors, including pink, white, red, and yellow. This includes not only the fruit itself but also the rind. Each has a very distinctive taste and can come with or without seeds. Grapefruits can be sweet, tangy, and even a little bit bitter.

Size Does Matter

The grapefruit tree can grow up to 30 feet in height, and even the size of the fruit itself can vary from one type to another. Most grapefruits range from 4 to 6 inches in diameter, though some can be either smaller or larger than this size.

A Long-Lasting Citrus Fruit

Most fruit doesn’t last for long and must be eaten right away, but this is not so with grapefruits. Grapefruits last for one week at room temperature and for up to three months if stored in the refrigerator. They are not affected by high temperatures because they are grown in hot weather, so even if you leave them on your countertop they won’t spoil or rot.

Grapefruit Recipes

Grapefruit Salad

A plate of grapefruit and avocado salad on wooden background.

In a small bowl, place 1 TBSP Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ cups salt, and ¾ cup of fresh pepper. Whish in ½ cup of olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Cut 4 ripe avocados in half, remove the skin and seeds, then toss them in the oil mixture so they don’t turn brown. Peel 2 large, red grapefruits and remove the pith. Cut around the membranes so that you get some segments to use. Next, arrange the avocado sliced around a large plate or platter, place the grapefruit segments in the center, and spoon the oil mixture on top of everything. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then serve.

Grapefruit Cocktail

Two glasses of grapefruit cocktail beside a wood chopping board with a knife and slices of grapefruit.

In a pitcher, add 1 cup of fresh grapefruit juice, 1 cup of fresh lime juice, ½ cup of tequila, ½ cup of triple sec, and 1 TBSP of agave syrup. Add 1 cup of ice cubes, then strain the mixture into 4 margarita glasses. Add a few pomegranate seeds (optional) to each glass, and enjoy.

Broiled Grapefruit

Slices of broiled grapefruit in a tin foil on wooden background.

Preheat your broiler. Cut 4 grapefruits in half and cut out each section with a serrated knife. Spoon these sections and the juice from the grapefruits into a bowl. Scrape out the remaining skins and pulp, then spoon the mixture from the bowl back into the halves. For best results, do this one half at a time. Next, 1 TBSP cinnamon and 1 TBSP sugar over the top of each grapefruit half, dot with butter, then place them on a baking sheet. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, allowing the butter to melt and the grapefruit to turn brown.

Grapefruit Smoothie

Grapefruit Smoothie beside slices of grapefruit and a ginger.

Blend the following ingredients in a blender until smooth: 1 1/3 cups of fresh red grapefruit, 2 medium sliced bananas, 8 large strawberries, 1 cup of crushed ice, 1 8-oz. a container of strawberry-banana yogurt, and 2 TBSP honey. Enjoy fresh and cold.

Grapefruit-Citrus Dessert

A plate of grapefruit and citrus salad.

Preheat the broiler and make sure the rack is 6 inches above the top. In an 8-by-8-inch baking pan, add 2 peeled and sectioned red grapefruits, 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks, and 2 large peeled and sectioned oranges. Combine ½ cup of packed brown sugar and 2 TBSP of softened butter together, then sprinkle this mixture over the fruit. Broil for roughly 5-6 minutes or until bubbly, then let cool before serving.

Grapefruit and Vinegar Dish

A plate of grapefruit with chard leaves salad.

 

Preheat your oven to 400ᵒ. In an 8-inch baking dish, toss ¾ lb. of baby beets with 2 TBSP vinegar and 2 TBSP water. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until the beets are caramelized and tender. While that is baking, combine ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, 1 TBSP of drained capers, 1 ½ tsp. of red wine vinegar, ½ cup of olive oil, and ¼ tsp. of salt. Place 3 small grapefruits, peeled and sliced, on a platter, then drizzle with salsa verde. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you serve this dish fresh and at room temperature for best results.

Pistachios and Grapefruit

A plate of kale, pistachios and grapefruit salad.

Combine ¼ cup of fresh grapefruit juice and 2 TBSP of light-brown sugar in a bowl. Take 2 grapefruits and peel them, removing the piths as well. Slice the grapefruits into round shapes. Divide the grapefruit slices and the juice into 4 bowls. Top each of them with 1 TBSP of chopped and toasted pistachios.

Sweet Grapefruit Dish

A slice of baked grapefruit.

Preheat oven to 250ᵒ. Wash 1 blood orange and slice it into 4 thin rounds. Line a baking sheet or spray with baking spray, then arrange the orange rounds on the sheet. Dust each orange with a liberal amount of confectioners sugar and bake until they are dry, turning them halfway through, about 45 minutes total. Afterward, preheat the broiler with the top rack about 6 inches from the top. Cut each grapefruit into half and loosen all of the membranes. Broil for roughly 2-3 minutes until there are brown spots on top. Top each grapefruit with an orange slice and put more confectioners sugar on top. Serve while warm.





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