OUR FRUIT - Grapefruit (citrus paradisi)
Grapefruit, chadek pomelo ?
While it is easy to tell these fruits apart when they are side by side, they are very often mixed up, like clementines and mandarins. Again in this case, we have two different species, one being the other's ancestor.
The true grapefruit (citrus maxima or citrus grandis) originates from Indonesia and Malaysia. It was cultivated in China in 2000 B.C. Its fruits are enormous (several kilogrammes), delicious and full of seeds. The history of its introduction in Europe left little footprints, because the interest is purely botanical curiosity : its fruit needs high temperatures to reach maturity. In 1693, the English captain Shaddock planted grapefruit seeds in Barbados. By chance, hybridization occurred between a true type grapefruit tree and an orange tree. A tree born from this crossbreeding was "discovered." So was born the "pomelo" (citrus paradisi).
The grapefruit was first cultivated in the Caribbean, and then in Florida, where it has been prevalent since the end of the 19th century. It remains a young citrus crop in European orchards (mostly Italy and Spain). The introduction in Corsica truly began with the red-flesh variety Star Ruby around 1990.
THE CULTIVATION CYCLE OF THE GRAPEFRUIT IN CORSICA IS AN ODDITY :
Hardier than clementine, lemon or orange, it withstands the winter perfectly and is the only citrus fruit to be picked well after winter, and sometimes even until summer.
On the in some orchards of the east cost of Corsica with soils that easily warm up, the Star Ruby grapefruit can reach maturity around February. From April, all the plantations are ready… In Mai we still go on with picking while trees begin to blossom. In June, harvest is not yet completed and the trees already bear small fruits for next year's production !
=> Every year, the fruits harvested are from the previous year's blossoms, and some fruits spend more than 12 months on the tree.
HOW ? Like lemon, and a lot longer than clementines and oranges, grapefruits can keep on trees when fully mature, a feature that allows us to organize harvesting according to demand… with a single variety : Star Ruby, a red-flesh grapefruit, which is adapted to our climate and has a good commercial value.
Avoiding heavy cold storage costs, this choice is not risk-free, since part of the harvest can be lost in case of hail, strong winds or parasite attacks. But it remains the best solution to provide real freshness to the end consumer. It also reduces need for seasonal workers, as harvest goes on over a much longer period. This organisation allows better employment security for farm workers.
As an appetizer or dessert, half a large grapefruit per person (or one small piece)
- Diced in a vitamin-rich salad
- In a fresh fruit salad
For your consideration, this short paragraph is of course valid for other fruit species, citrus fruits, avocados and also apples, tomatoes, etc.
FRUIT SIZE VARIES :
- From one species to the next (true type grapefruit or pomelo).
- From one variety to the next (for pomelos, we only have one, but if we consider the example of clementine varieties, we find that the early fruits harvested in late October are generally smaller than those picked in late December).
- And then, on the same tree, the size still varies widely : like in a village or family, where one finds tall people and short people. However, the origin is the same, and there is no principle based on size (weight) to declare one fruit better than another.
IN STORES, FRUITS ARE OFTEN THE SAME SIZE
Because they have been graded before packing.
This is not spontaneous or natural, but mandatory because of "standardization" which regulates the sale of fruits and vegetables.
Standardization is based solely on presentation criteria ! (Size or weight + visual appearance criteria)
On a same tree, the size of grapefruits varies from 200 g to nearly 1 kg, most grapefruits being in the 300 – 400 g range. And they are all equally good !
The average sizes are preferred solely by force of habit and often sold at a higher price.
Fruits that are "too small" or "too big" are often snubbed by stores (because of a lack of space, there is only one type of grapefruit), since they sell less quickly, again out of habit. They are generally delivered at promotional prices so they don't have to be thrown away.
THE QUALITY OF THE FRUITS CANNOT BE MEASURED BY THEIR SIZE, APPEARANCE OR PRICE : IT'S ALL IN THE TASTE !
See our recipes :