Admittedly, as a child, I didn’t much care for grapefruit. I think I once said it “tasted like earwax” (don’t bother asking how I knew what earwax might have tasted like). But my judgment of grapefruit shifted when I was a teenager and on a trip to Thailand. I am not certain if this is still the custom, but a popular street food in Thailand was a halved grapefruit, wrapped in cellophane with a tiny wax paper packet of chili and salt (and sometimes a touch of sugar). This hot and salty mix, when poured upon the sour juicy pink flesh of a grapefruit brought out all of the sweetness you never thought possible from such a maligned bit of citrus. From that day forward, while I would hardly call myself a grapefruit enthusiast, I changed my mind about the true potential of grapefruit.
Now with the season of grapefruit upon us, it is high time to take a look at, as well as a taste of, the humble grapefruit. Sure the abundance of grapefruit in supermarkets, as well as winter gift baskets, brought the subject into the forefront, but so did writer Katy Waldman’s angry grapefruit screed published earlier this week on Slate.com. Waldman proclaims that “grapefruit is disgusting” as well as impossible to eat. “Grapefruit is unwieldy, disgusting, and in some cases dangerous to eat. It is indisputably the worst fruit anyone has ever put on a plate.” Waldman goes on to enumerate all the ways in which she abhors this globe of citrus and why you should too. She cites everything from grapefruits ability to inhibit the metabolizing of essential medications (like Lipitor and Zoloft) to her opinion that it tastes “…like a bad-tempered orange soaked in kerosene, like a pack of stale Warheads rehydrated in vinegar, like a sock filled with battery acid.”
No one can argue that grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and calcium, but how good or bad they taste is obviously up for discussion. Where do you stand on the grapefruit debate? Delicious and nutritious, or a cruel joke played upon consumers by citrus growers? Any favorite ways to consume grapefruit?