I spent last week in the desert, literally. The husband and I set off on a spontaneous trip to Arizona for some sun and a change of scenery. Having never visited the Grand Canyon state, I was in awe of the desert’s striking beauty. The sun rose and set, casting shadows over giant saguaro cactus and painting the desert shades of red and purple. Prickly cactus, short and tall, round and flat, jutted from the sandy soil. Succulents like aloe vera, reached towards me with long, spindly arms. We drove from Phoenix to Sedona to the Grand Canyon, stopping to take photos or sit quietly on the rocks. The wind whispered legacies of Native American tribes: Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai, Apache. Visiting the ruins, carved out of the cliffs, we wondered what became of these ancient people. Theirs was a time before written history, a time as old as Stonehenge.
In this land of perpetual summer, I marveled at heavy citrus hanging from the tree. Red chiles dotted ornamental gardens and cactus flowers bloomed. Now I’m back home in Colorado. The skies are dark and full of clouds, and the garden is bare. It’s winter, but I’ll hold on to the Arizona sun by filling my fridge with citrus. The ingredient of the week at la Domestique is grapefruit.
This tropical citrus enjoys a long growing season in the United States, beginning in Florida and Texas, continuing in Arizona and California. The yellow, softball-sized fruit grows in grape-like clusters on green, leafy trees, hence the name: grapefruit. According to The Produce Bible, grapefruit was discovered about 300 years ago in Barbados. It’s a result of cross-pollination between the pomelo and orange. The flesh of grapefruit ranges in color from white to pink to deep ruby, depending on the variety. Pink grapefruit contains more vitamin A than white, but all grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C. Grapefruit has a slightly floral perfume with a hint of freshly ground white pepper. The flesh is bitter-sweet and juicy. Try a few of the different varieties because some are more bitter than others. This bitterness is not a fault, rather a unique quality that makes grapefruit interesting. Pairing grapefruit with sweet, creamy ingredients will balance the flavors. Avocado is a classic grapefruit pairing that perfectly illustrates this point.
Grapefruit can be stored at room temperature for about a week, but keeps for 2-3 weeks wrapped in a plastic bag and stowed in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Need to brush up on your citrus slicing skills? Head over to Bon Appétit for a tutorial on cutting up citrus. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be tossing grapefruit into all sorts of dishes. It’s delicious in desserts, juices, and even savory plates. Tomorrow is 10 Ways Tuesday and I’ll have plenty of creative ideas for cooking with grapefruit during winter. Citrus is nature’s way of getting us through the winter blues. This week in the la Domestique kitchen, the forecast is sunny and warm.
Do you like grapefruit? Want to share your favorite variety, or a tip? Let me know in the comments section. Click Here.