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What Is a Texas Grapefruit?

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  • Written By: Anna Harrison
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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A Texas grapefruit is a citrus fruit that is prized for its ruby red color and lack of seeds. It is grown in the southernmost part of the state and has the familiar sour grapefruit flavor and bright yellow rind. This large fruit is full of vitamin C and many other nutrients. The Texas grapefruit grows on trees that are very delicate and thrives in the special growing conditions which Texas provides. One of the most popular brands is Rio Red which is sweeter and less bitter than many other varieties.

These types of citrus trees require very fertile soil, hot sun, and a subtropical climate. Southern Texas is one of just a few locations in the U.S. that can meet the needs of the Texas grapefruit. It requires an even warmer and steadier temperature than other tender fruit trees and will only grow where there is no threat of frost.

Texas grapefruits are not picked until fully ripe, so they are always ready to eat before shipping to stores. The rind may change color slightly as they age, but this does not affect the quality of the fruit. They should be heavy for their size with a glossy rind and ends that are flattened slightly. For best flavor, the fruits should be stored at room temperature. If longer storage is necessary, they can be refrigerated and then allowed to warm slightly before eating.

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While other citrus fruits are usually just peeled, pulled apart, and eaten out of hand, the Texas grapefruit is eaten differently. It is most often cut in half and the small sections ares scooped out with a spoon. Some brown sugar may be sprinkled on top of the cut pieces for added sweetness. Full of vitamins, the Texas grapefruit is high in vitamins C and A and is also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber than can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Grapefruit seed extract is made from leftover pulp as well as seeds and contains no juice. It is thought by many to have health benefits although this has not been proven. Also sold as grapefruit extract, it is used as a remedy for everything from colds and flu to ringworm and yeast infections.

The state of Texas stopped growing white and pink grapefruits in the 1960s as they were considered to be inferior products. Ruby Red grapefruits are now the only commercially grown type in Texas and are the official fruit of that state. The varieties that are most often seen in markets today include Rio Red, Henderson, Ray, and Rio Star.

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