Grapefruit vs. Oranges

By: The Hale Groves Team | On: | Category: Fruit Facts

Winter is when the most delicious citrus fruits in North America come into season, and that’s why grapefruit gifts and navel oranges in stocking have become traditional at Christmastime. But when choosing gifts for your friends, family, and co-workers, which should choose? Both citrus fruits with common ancestors, grapefruit and oranges have a lot in common – as well as some key differences.

How are Oranges and Grapefruit Similar?

If you receive a citrus basket with a selection of grapefruit and oranges inside, you’ll notice some similarities in the two fruits right off the bat – they’re both round fruits with sunshine-colored rinds that are thick, glossy and pitted and a fresh, citrusy flavor. Peel them and they also look similar, with juicy segments and a white pith that can rather bitter tasting. They even have some similarities in taste, with a high citric acid content that gives them a tart, tangy and distinctive flavor.

How Do Grapefruit & Oranges Differ?

Interestingly enough, both oranges and grapefruit are hybrid fruits, with the pomelo (one of the original non-hybrid citrus fruits) serving as one half of their genetic makeup. The sweet orange, however, is a hybrid of a pomelo and a mandarin (another of the original non-hybrid citrus fruits), while the grapefruit is a hybrid of a pomelo and a sweet orange itself.

Despite their commonalities, however, grapefruit and oranges are very different fruits, as you can tell at first glance. For one thing, most grapefruit varieties tend to be larger and heavier than sweet orange varieties, with pale yellow peels (possibly with a pinkish hue, depending on the variety), while oranges are smaller, lighter and have orange peels. The flesh of most sweet orange varieties is also orange, while the flesh of a ripe grapefruit can range from white to pink to red, again depending on the variety.

Where oranges and grapefruit differ most (as far as individual preference is concerned) is taste. Sweet oranges tend to be just that: sweet, with tangy overtones. All good grapefruit have a distinctive tartness that, in some varieties, borders on bitterness. Historically, white grapefruit has been the most tart, but newer varieties of red grapefruit (like our best-selling Ruby Red Grapefruit) have outstripped it in popularity to the point that it can be harder to find in grocery stores these days (if you’re wondering where to buy white grapefruit, look no further than Hale Groves – our Sweet White Grapefruit has the fragrant aroma and sweet-tart flesh you prize!).

Which Fruit is Healthier: Grapefruit or Oranges?

Oranges and grapefruit have similar nutritional benefits, but there are differences. Grapefruit are lower than oranges in calories, but higher (slightly) in fat. Oranges are higher in sugar (hence their sweeter flavor) as well as protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Both fruits contain trace amounts of all the essential amino acids.

Here’s how grapefruit and oranges measure up in:

  • Vitamins. Oranges are richer in vitamins C, E, B1, B2, B3 and B6. Grapefruit have a higher level or vitamin A. Both fruits contain similar amounts of vitamin B5 per serving.
  • Minerals. Oranges are higher in most minerals, including iron, calcium and potassium. Grapefruits do contain more phosphorus. The two fruits are about the same when it comes to magnesium and zinc.
  • Glycemia. Both oranges and grapefruits are on the list of low glycemic index foods, however, the glycemic index of oranges is double than that of grapefruits.

Keep in mind that grapefruit does interact with some prescription medications. If you take medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or anxiety, or take antihistamines, anti-anxiety medication, or transplant-rejection drugs, talk with your doctor before making grapefruit or grapefruit juice a regular part of your diet.

Which is the Better Gift?

Still not sure whether to order grapefruit or orange online? Why not both? One of our customers very favorite items to send at the holidays is an assorted box of our Grove Navel Oranges and Ruby Red Grapefruit! Shipped perfectly fresh and ripe from Florida, these two classic fruits are packed together in amounts and price points guaranteed to fit everyone on your list.

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Hale Groves of Vero Beach, Florida, offers the best citrus and fruit gifts money can buy. Order some for your friends, family or yourself.

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