Some fruits just can’t help but demand attention.
And with their oversize shape and notorious bite, grapefruits may as well be the kings – or queens! – of the produce aisle.
But the fruits are a monarch of the people, coming in a number of different colors and flavors that are sure to please every pallet. Bow down!
Not Quite Grapes
Grapefruit may be like royalty to us, but the fruit actually had a very humble – and even slightly humorous – start.
The produce was created very much by accident, on the sun-soaked isles of the Caribbean.
Most botanists believe that grapefruit was actually a naturally-occurring hybrid, which started sprouting on its own after its parents, the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo, got together, most likely in Barbados. (The island was a hotspot for early European explorers, who were likely the ones to introduce both the orange and the pomelo to the tropical ecosystem to begin with.)
Once local farmers realized what a fine creation they had on their hands, they took the reins from Mother Nature, going on to grow grapefruits intentionally and forever cementing the effect of the world’s happiest coincidence.
Legend has it that the name “grapefruit” came from one Jamaican farmer who remarked that the fruit tasted a little like the Mediterranean treat. And while we don’t exactly agree with that analysis, history did well enough for the name to stick.
Regardless, once the fruit was named – and its praises spread throughout the region – clever gardeners began not just growing grapefruits on purpose, but developing entirely new cultivars of the yummy fruit – something we’re still very grateful for today.
Most Popular Types of Grapefruits
Indeed, there are over a dozen varieties of grapefruits grown all over the world today. And thanks to its peculiar growing schedule, these babies actually ripen in the winter – bringing a rare and welcome splash of citrus to an otherwise rich and decadent season.
Most of the major types of grapefruits have some reference to color in their name, as well, giving us a further break from the wintertime blues. Thanks, grapefruit!
Some of the most popular types of grapefruits include:
The general rule states that the redder a grapefruit is, the sweeter it tastes. But the rule is a general one for a reason.
Despite their brilliant red flesh, these types of grapefruits are notoriously bitter. Still, their color can be associated with a few wonderful things, like the plant compound lycopene – responsible for lending the fruit its hue – which is a powerful antioxidant.
White grapefruits aren’t as much bitter as they are sour. And just a bit tart.
The gentle giants, which sport a yellow skin and cream-colored flesh, are also one of the most aromatic types of grapefruits, hitting you with that unmistakable fresh citrusy scent after being cut open.
The Goldilocks compromise of red and white, this type of grapefruit has a little of everything: Tartness, tanginess and it’s own bit of sweetness.
As such, pink grapefruits are widely regarded as some of the most delicious types of grapefruits, and are very often used to make juice and other grapefruit products.
Star Ruby Grapefruits
These types of grapefruits truly take after their namesakes – they rock a stunning ruby red flesh, and definitely pack in tons of star quality.
On the inside, aside from the brilliant color, the fruits carry a delectable taste that’s the perfect mixture of sweet and sour.
One of the more unique types of grapefruit, this cultivar breaks from tradition in a few ways, including, most notably, its lime-colored flesh, which is rare in the grapefruit world.
Sweeties are also – perhaps unsurprisingly – one of the sweetest types of grapefruits out there, making them once again stand out from their stouter, more sour cousins.
Oro Blanco Grapefruits
With a name that means ‘white gold,’ you might have high hopes for these types of grapefruits. And they truly deliver.
The varietal is easily the least bitter type of grapefruit out there, and one of the sweetest varietals to boot! Their white flesh and electric yellow rind are also nods to their colorful name.
Actually, this cultivar is anything but mellow.
Developed in California in the 1950s, melogolds are one of the juiciest types of grapefruits out there. And they burst with a bold mix of flavors, too, with big hints of orange and lots of natural sweetness.
Lavender Gem Grapefruits
Technically a mix between grapefruit and a tangelo, these citrus fruits are the grapefruit world’s diamonds in the rough.
Though their taste is extremely mellow, their pretty blush skins opens to reveal a beautiful bluish flesh that really set them apart. Plus, these types of grapefruits are especially juicy, and have very few seeds to get in the way.
Originally developed in Florida, it may come as no surprise that these types of grapefruit look much more like an orange, inside and out.
Still, the taste is distinctively grapefruit, with a perfect balance of tangy, tart and sweet and plenty of juice to satisfy snackers of all kinds.
But no matter which variety is your favorite, there’s no denying that grapefruits are one of the best ways out there to taste the rainbow.