By Jason Tromblay. April 23, 2010.
From nearly the beginning of the grapefruit industry, people have favored the red grapefruit varieties of this citrus over the white. Although some industry professionals claim no distinction in flavor truly exists, red grapefruit lovers – as well as many grove owners – beg to differ.
Ever since the Ruby Red grapefruit became the first patented grapefruit back in 1934, red grapefruit have steadily climbed in popularity and production. By the 1950s, Florida’s red grapefruit production had climbed to encompass 75% of all grapefruit grown in the state.
Call it consumer intuition or maybe just pure luck, but in recent years, science has discovered that red grapefruit actually is better for you than the white. It’s all in the lycopene – a phytochemical found in red grapefruit, as well as some other red fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, papayas and tomatoes.
The lycopene in red grapefruit turns this citrus, once simply more appealing to the taste and eye, into a true health-food fan’s friend. It helps prevent a bevy of diseases, including certain kinds of heart disease and cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis – even male infertility.
Ruby Red soared into popularity back in the middle of the last century and remains at the top of the red grapefruit best-selling varieties. This particular red grapefruit features flesh that varies slightly in color from pink to a deeper reddish hue. Lovers of the Ruby Red grapefruit swear by this Florida citrus standard as the most succulent, eye-appealing fruit in its class, with many claiming its natural juicy sweetness eliminates even the need for sugar on a normally sour fruit.
The red grapefruit, Flame, a progeny of the Ruby Red (through a process of seed production known as nucellar embryony), goes one step further in coloration to the Ruby Red. Flame, released as a new variety in 1987, features a significantly redder hue to its flesh than Ruby Red. The pinker blush of the skin to this variety of red grapefruit also makes it more striking and visually appealing, a plus for Florida citrus sellers. With its hearty flavor and tangy juiciness, the Flame is quickly gaining ground as another Florida red grapefruit growing in demand with citrus lovers.
Whichever you prefer – and many choose both! – Florida’s red grapefruit continues to reign as a favorite in flavor, lusciousness and as an ideal way to make any meal taste-bud-tempting in presentation and taste.