You either love it or hate it: there seems to be no in-between. But the fact of the matter is that ever since Texas developed the red grapefruit, things have gotten sweeter and juicier, adding more converts to the culinary prowess of this delectable fruit. I for one am an avid fan of the softball-sized citrus as it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and even contains Vitamin A and a smidgen of calcium. The other good nutritional news is that it is cholesterol free, sodium free, fat free while containing dietary fiber and Lycopene – a carotenoid that may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Texas Red Grapefruit
Yes, I know that grapefruit is known for its bitter taste, but if that’s what you still think, then you haven’t tried Texas red grapefruits. Tree-ripened, they are known for being sweet and juicy as contrasted with grapefruits that are yellow or pink. Though Florida still grows yellow and pink grapefruits, much of which is used for juice and fruit concentrate, Texas only grows the sweeter red grapefruit varieties. After all this is where the red mutant had its accidental start in 1929. It would later receive the first-ever patent awarded to a grapefruit – the Texas Ruby Red. (Factoid: Texas officially banned both the pink and white grapefruit from being grown in 1962). Later, in 1993, Texas declared the Texas red grapefruit as the official state fruit.
Nowadays, Texas produces trademarked grapefruit that can easily be called the nectar of the gods. They include:
Rio Star® Category
Combines the two reddest varieties – Rio Red and Star Ruby grapefruit which were released in 1984 and 1970 respectively. It has an overall blush on the exterior peel with a deep red interior color which is 7 to 10 times redder than the Ruby Red.
Includes the famous Ruby Red, and other redder varieties – Henderson and Ray. Its smooth, yellow skin is naturally tinged with a reddish blush, and an interior color 3 to 5 times redder than Ruby Red.
South Texas, in particular the Rio Grande Valley, boasts a sub-tropical climate that is conducive to growing the Texas Reds. I was recently in McAllen, Texas at Bell’s Farm to Market, where I had a chance to sample the reds and even the unique grapefruit pie. Flip through the slideshow to see Texas red grapefruit in so many different ways. Find the recipes to match the photos at: TexaSweet.com
And be sure to try one of my favorites that mixes red grapefruit with avocado, black eyed peas, onions, and black pepper. It’s a stunner.
Rio Star Cowboy Caviar
Prep. Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed Red Rio Star Grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 firm, ripe avocado cubed
1 can black eyed peas drained and rinsed
1 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Red Rio Star grapefruit sections, roughly chopped
1. In a large bowl mix grapefruit juice, hot sauce, oil, garlic and pepper.
2. Add remaining ingredients – gently fold to coat.
3. Serve with chips.
4. Serving suggestions: serve with grilled steak or chicken. Also, add 1 jalapeno minced for a kick of spice!
Recipe courtesy of TexaSweet.com