February is National Grapefruit Month. Celebrate by making these Petite Grapefruit Oatmeal Scones, which are easy to prepare as well as tasty. See recipe at end of story. / Courtesy indianriverselect.com

Whether or not you love the taste of grapefruit, you can’t deny the benefits that consuming either its flesh or its juice provides. And a lot of people must love grapefruit, which come in three main varieties: red, white and pink. In fact, February is National Grapefruit Month.


There are many little-known facts about every fruit. The Citrus × paradisi is no exception (its name means “the fruit comes from paradise”). Here are five fun facts about it. (Unless otherwise indicated, the source is indianriverselect.com.)

1) One-half (about 3.5 ounces) of a grapefruit contains about 60 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C. That’s more than half of your daily need in less than a cup.

2) Its name, “grapefruit,” derives from the way it grows – in bunches, like grapes. That is why, botanically, a grapefruit is a berry.

3) Consuming grapefruit can help reduce body fat in some people.

Count Odet Philippe./ Courtesy floridacitrushalloffame.com

4) A Frenchman, Count Odet Philippe, is credited with introducing the grapefruit to Florida in 1823, in what is now Safety Harbor. The city is on the west side of Tampa Bay in Pinellas County. For his efforts, he was inducted in 1963 into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. His biography on floridacitrushalloffame.com notes, “Grapefruits, which were at the time considered a ‘rich-man’s dish,’ were Philippe’s primary citrus crop. … When grapefruit became a more popular crop in the late 19th century, its success could be attributed to Philippe’s work with the crop in the first half of the century.”

5) Some people who take prescription medications should exercise caution when consuming grapefruit, because it has a strong interaction with some medications. “Not only can grapefruit decrease the function of a drug, but it can also make the drug more potent — both of these side effects are not good when you’re trying to regulate a medical condition with a prescription drug. Best advice … ask your physician” (www.juicenashville.com).

The following recipe is courtesy of indianriverselect.com.

Petite Grapefruit Oatmeal Scones

INGREDIENTS
1 Florida grapefruit
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup quick-cooking oatmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, well chilled, finely diced
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons half-and-half (dairy product)
Grapefruit Glaze (for topping; recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove zest from grapefruit with zester; reserve. Peel grapefruit, then segment and dice. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels; place diced grapefruit on paper towels and drain well. Blot grapefruit dry with additional paper towels; reserve.

In medium bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and reserved grapefruit zest. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Whisk together eggs and half-and-half; pour half of egg mixture into flour mixture; stir just until combined.

Add 2 more tablespoons of egg mixture to flour mixture; reserve remaining egg mixture. Stir dough until mixture forms a ball. Add diced grapefruit; mix in lightly.

Turn dough onto a floured work surface; form dough into a ball. Knead dough lightly three times, adding a small amount of flour if dough is too sticky. Pat dough into 2 6-inch circles. Cut each circle into six wedges.

Place scones on ungreased cookie sheet; brush with reserved egg mixture. Bake for seven to 10 minutes or until light golden-brown. Transfer scones to wire rack and cool completely. Drizzle with Grapefruit Glaze, if desired.

Grapefruit Glaze

INGREDIENTS
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients; mix well.

GARDENER’S TIPS

Due to citrus disease, it is important to purchase trees only from certified nurseries registered with the state.

Grapefruit trees grow slightly larger than the 10- to 20-foot-tall estimate for most citrus trees, so make sure you pick a spot to plant with adequate room. Remember that trees should be at least 25 feet apart from one another, as well as 25 feet away from houses and septic tanks.

Citrus trees need good drainage and full sun in order to provide healthy fruit. For more information, visit UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

Grapefruit (raw), 1 cup

  • Calories: 74
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams
  • Total fat: 0 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 3 grams

* For a complete breakdown, visit Food-A-Pedia

BUYING & STORAGE TIPS

In general, ripe citrus that’s ready to eat will have a smooth, thin skin. Give the citrus candidate a good squeeze to check that it’s firm, plump and heavy.

On-the-tree grapefruit can retain its quality for months; however, once it’s picked, most producers apply a wax that allows the citrus to remain fresh for a week if stored at room temperature. If you don’t expect to eat the citrus before then, you can store grapefruit in your refrigerator crisper for up to three weeks.

Remember that citrus fruits are always juicier when slightly warm, so if you’re storing them in the ‘fridge, allow them time to reach room temperature prior to eating.

The grapefruit is celebrated during the whole month of February: It’s National Grapefruit Month.