The origin of the grapefruit could be a natural crossing of sweet orange and pummelo (or Shaddock, which was the surname of the English captain who transported it) which took place around 1700 in Barbados and therefore we can date its existence to 1823. Seven years later he received the sacrament of baptism, being scientifically called Citrus Paradi, although he was popularly called “the forbidden fruit”. The French Count Odette Philippe was the one who moved them to Florida from the Bahamas. And it was in this state that they reached their full development. In fact, the United States was the true forerunner of this crop, above all thanks to the obtaining, through the researcher Richard Hensz, of the two most commercialised varieties in Europe: Star Ruby and Rio Red.
This product receives such different names as grapefruit in English (although the origin of this denomination is not known with certainty, some say that it may be due to the discovery of a certain similarity with the taste of the grape; while others believe that it is due to the fact that the fruit is born in small bunches), pamplemousse in French, pompelmo in Italian and pomelo in Spanish. All these names are used to describe a single fruit whose use is mainly for breakfast rather than for dessert.
There are basically four varieties of grapefruit:
- White grapefruit: Technically known as Marsh Seedless or White Marsh. It is a tree of great vigour and rapid entry into production. The fruit is medium sized, weighing around 300 grams. The skin is very smooth, pale or light yellow in colour and the pulp is light creamy. With a high juice content, it is harvested in October. It is the most acidic and the most widely accepted in the Spanish market.
- Pink grapefruit: Identified as Ruby, Red Marsh, Red Seedless, Red Blues or Ruby Red. It is a fruit with slightly less calibre and maturity. The units are coloured pink, both in the rind and in the flesh. It is harvested from October.
- Star Ruby: The fruit is medium sized, seedless and has a higher juice content than other varieties. The skin is rather thin, with a colour ranging from toasted yellow to red.
- Red River: Also known as Ray Ruby or Henderson. Its size is bigger than the other big red variety, although its colour is a little less intense and has a lower juice content.