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Feb 14 2007

Fruit report

grapefruit_rio_star.jpg
Stately, plump Twisty Faster came from the refrigerator, bearing a bowl of grapefruit upon which a spoon and her eyes lay crossed.

The material specialties of Texas are abundant (and often vulgar), but few Lone Star commodities can compare with the Rio Star grapefruit. It is considered the finest grapefruit in the known universe. The ruby promise of its ante meridiem delectation is often the only thing that can induce a spinster aunt to depart the Tempurpedic of a winter’s morn.

Of course, there can be little doubt that if grapefruit laborers were actually paid a decent wage, a Rio Star would cost about $37. Nobody but illegals will work for the crap the growers pay. With the big crackdown on illegal immigration, fewer slave laborers exist. Those who do are shifting over to construction work, which pays 2 or 3 times as much. Texas agriculture is on the skids. Growers are selling off their land to developers. Soon the Rio Grande Valley will be an endless mall of Baby Gaps and lap dance clubs.

Grapefruit fact of the day: Grapefruit is a cross between a mammoth Southeast Asian citrus fruit (pomelo) and an orange.

55 comments

  1. judithweingarten

    Never before, Twisty, have I had to disagree with you so strongly, but anyone, ANYONE, responsible for bringing rosy-pink grapefruits to fruition should be run out of town, or Texas, whichever is first. The taste of a true, pale-faced grapefruit is a dim memory thanks to the marketing of these pretty girly things.

  2. Twisty

    Well, you can always get a pumelo and an orange together and eat their ghostly bastard spawn, I guess.

  3. Pony

    Oh my god. I eat the same breakfast as Twisty: Texas Rio Star grapefruit. Frozen everything out there but I’m eating grapefruit from Texas. Plump, sweet and juicy. But not sectioned quite as neatly.

    Grapefruit fact: Grapefruit interferes with metabolism of just about any medication and so too do any of its hybrids and relatives, like Tangelos, Seville oranges, Moros, Pommelos. I’ll take the grapefruit over just about any med.

  4. Pinko Punko

    Pommelos kind of smell like pot sometimes. Weird. Also, when you buy the gazillion pound bag of Rios at the Costco, you need to be careful, you could hurt yourself. Or be attacked by a grapefruit chupacabra.

  5. Burrow

    I too prefer those wonderful white grapefruits that aren’t too sweet.

  6. curiousgyrl

    texas grapefruit are the best. mmm. I had two today.

  7. leen

    The most recent National Geographic has a little article about that whole grapefruit-medicine thing. It’s something about an enzyme in grapefruit that blocks a native-to-the-stomach enzyme that breaks down medicines before you absorb them. So apparently the problem is that grapefruit makes you have mini-overdoses of your medications. The scientists, they are apparently pretty excited about the whole discovery.

    I can highly recommend my favorite morning drink: juice (all into the same glass) 2 oranges and 1 grapefruit. Mmmmmmm. Tasty.

  8. cypress

    I somehow missed noticing the new blogular title banner until just this minute. Writing on a taco seems a miraculous digital age achievement.

    Pomelo taste good. I knew about the grapefruit interaction with some medications, but not that there were so many potential problems.

    I choose grapefruit.

    This is so much easier to get my overloaded head around than how to deal with the catholic Catholic bigots. Without risking getting sent to gaol.

  9. Kelley

    Dear Goddess, that fruit is beautiful!!! My mouth is watering; I’m drooling on the keyboard!!

    Must have grapefruit!!

  10. chump

    “The scientists, they are apparently pretty excited about the whole discovery.”

    As are frugal recreational drug users.

  11. Twisty

    “Writing on a taco seems a miraculous digital age achievement.”

    Actually the new banner is chicken-fried steak from the Hill Country Cupboard in Johnson City, TX. I’d much rather eat it than write on it, but when I tally up all the monetary and social costs involved (gas for the 76-mile round-trip, illegal slave labor in the kitchen, support of animal cruelty, the burden I’ll eventually become on society when I need a triple bypass, $6.95 plus tip, etc), I just can’t square it.

  12. cycles

    I love the new banner. Is that white gravy over chicken fried steak? With a side of green beans? And butter?

    Speaking of that, if I may ask a food question: at El Azteca restaurant in Austin, at least back in the 1800s when I was there, the waiter would bring you a basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of margarine packets with the menus. We used to dip the chips in the margarine, but surely that wasn’t correct. Was it?

  13. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Hmmmmmmm . . . I’m thinking I’ll poach Twisty’s fab grapefruit photo for my own grapefruit post when my emergency room bill comes in. WARNING: DO NOT EAT GRAPEFRUIT IF YOU TAKE BRAIN PILLS! I’d rather you not learn this the hard way like I did. When I finally post on this I’ll title it “The $500 Grapefruit” or something like that.

    MMMMMMMMM. I love pink grapefruit. Sigh!

  14. cycles

    Oops, never mind; Twisty answered my question while I was typing it. She’s psychic, among her other glories. All hail!

  15. Twisty

    “We used to dip the chips in the margarine, but surely that wasn’t correct. Was it?”

    Things were different in the 1800′s. When Tidy and I were kids our parents used to take us to Casa Dominguez in downtown Dallas, and we’d spread the margarine on warm corn tortillas and then empty a sugar packet on that thing.

    Thank the lard for the smoked mango salsa of today.

  16. LL

    Is that a chicken fried steak at the Frisco in your banner? You’re not old enough to eat there!

  17. Arianna

    Incedentally, I only discovered what a Pomelo is this weekend while doing groceries with the other half. We have a bad (good?) habit of buying one of whatever odd-looking fruit we haven’t tried before.

    Unfortunately, it seems that orange is the half of grapefruit that I like and Pomelo contains the half that I don’t.

  18. Jo

    Pomellos also grow quite nicely in the Middle East and the region surrounding the Mediterranean. They beat out grapefruit any day.

  19. Pinko Punko

    Pommelos are pretty good, but if you are sensitive to bitter flavors, you can’t even have one molecule of the pith. If you DO like bitter flavors, i.e. tonic, etc. then you should toss aside your martini and have a Trader Joe’s italian grapefruit soda (the canned variety) and your favorite gin. The proportions at the blamer’s discretion.

  20. Betsy

    Wow. That looks like one luscious grapefruit. Made me forget about the patriarchy for a couple of minutes. Delightful.

  21. TP

    That is one incredibly beautiful photograph. I think I have failed many times to express my admiration for your photographic talents, and I wish I had.

  22. lucy

    the margarine and sugar phenomenon hasnt died! been to san antonio lately??? if you go paloma blanca or la fonda (both excellent), you can witness this for yourself! i really love your site twisty. thank you.

  23. Buffalo Gal

    Thank you, Twisty, for that botanical fact. I had vaguely thought so, but was not sure and was too lazy to research it. Unfortunately, I have never seen a Rio Star grapefruit here in the frozen north. The only pink grapefruits available are the flavorless ones. Even more unfortunately, I now have to research whether my particular brain medicine is one affected by grapefruit. Grapefruit and sanity are two of my favorite things.

  24. goblinbee

    I stayed with friends in Florida one February who had a grapefruit tree with incredibly large, luscious fruit (I don’t remember the hue). They had a heavy-duty suitcase to return to me (borrowed for the trip out to their new digs) and I was able to pack it with a zillion pounds of grapefruit to bring back on the plane. It was my only checked luggage!

    Best drink in the whole world: freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice, undiluted (no o.j.!).

    Best fruit: grapefruit.

    But no grapefruit for me today. I’ve got an open box of See’s before me.

    –g

  25. vera

    A medication/grapefruit interaction! That explains why my dad always used to mutter darkly about “interfering with my medication” whenever I served grapefruit for breakfast. I thought he was just acting odd. It sounds like grapefruit is an MAO inhibitor. Pass the grapefuit and mushrooms, please.

  26. badkitty

    Grapefruit causes problems with tamoxifen, too, if there are any breast cancer survivors out there that are taking that. While I’m doling out bad news, it seems that pomegranites may be guilty of the same thing. My pharmacist warned me off them and I’ve been seeing things on breast cancer sites. As much as I love both, I can wait another few years to eat them. Didn’t like the breast cancer so much. Do not want to go there again.

  27. Pony

    badkitty cranberry juice is a suspect too. Probably NOT the sugared watered cranberry juice but the real dealio, the kind that makes your cheek insides quiver.

    http://www.powernetdesign.com/grapefruit/general/GJDIsummary.pdf

  28. roamaround

    “…we’d spread the margarine on warm corn tortillas and then empty a sugar packet on that thing.”

    Like so many things in Tejas, a concept stolen from New Mexico where we used to eat buttered frybread sprinkled with powdered sugar.

    Texas grapefruit is the best though. (You can sprinkle that with sugar too!) Use one of those special grapefruit spoons with the serrated edges to get the perfect wedge of tarty pinkness.

  29. josie my source of most frustration

    Grapefruit and/or grapefruit juice and also decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.

  30. Hattie

    I have a pumelo tree full of fruit right now. It’s a beautiful sight. Pumelos have a thick rind and take a long time to ripen, but when they are fully ripe, they are wondrous. I have to go out and knock them around with a stick right now to see if one is ready. When they are ready they drop off.
    My favorite thing is to getavocados from the tree out back and one of my pumelos, slice them up, layer them nicely and make a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, basalmic vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper to drizzle on top.
    Ahhhh. Bliss indeed.

  31. Joanna

    No! my beloved grapefruit will mess with my brain pills? I didn’t know that. Damn.

  32. kate

    I remember when I lived in Phoenix, my ex fixed a lawnmower for a lady, we went to her house to do the job. She paid us and also let us pick up all the yellow grapefruit just fallen from her three or four trees.

    It was a treat, for this midwestern child to find on the ground, free for the taking that which had always sprung only from grocery store shelves. Although, if not for her encouragement that they were just like the grocery store ones, I probably would have balked at them, just like I did when I saw dates and oranges everywhere.

    I bought a pummelo once and couldn’t take the bitterness and the thick rind seemed so — well, odd. Maybe it wasn’t ripe?

    Since money is hard coming as of late, I am weekly picking at the reduced produce at certain markets. Amazing the amount of unusual produce I’ve managed to bring home for a coupla bucks. Just figuring out what to do with it is sometimes a challenge.

  33. Hattie

    I bought a pummelo once and couldn’t take the bitterness and the thick rind seemed so — well, odd. Maybe it wasn’t ripe?

    Yes, it was not ripe, and that is the way you usually get them. And you need a good sharp knife to cut through the rind easily. .

    My husband brought me a ceramic knife from Japan last time he was there. I love it! It’s the only knife I use any more.

  34. cypress

    Twisty – I live in south western Canada and clearly do not have a clue about chicken fried steak. I have now looked carefully at the photograph, i think i can see the white gravy [where does that come from?] enrobing the steak. what makes it chicken fried?

  35. cypress

    Oh no. Small I’s. And a small W. Alas.

  36. edith

    Grapefruit grosses me out, if only because they remind me of one of my mother’s odd semi-disordered-eating-phases-of-the-past where she got the brilliant idea that all grapefruit, all the time, will make you lose weight. I have the same problem with granola.

  37. edith

    Joanna, I’m pretty sure, which means I’m sure until someone smarter sets me straight, that psychiatric meds and grapefruit are A-OK. If they weren’t, your prescription bottles would have a label like, “DON’T TAKE WITH GRAPEFRUIT” similar to the “MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS” one on my sleeping pills.

  38. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Here ye go, onions:

    http://hedonisticpleasureseeker.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=811
    blank_page

    Just rack up your meds regimens on this site and it will tell you the interactions. If grapefruit is an issue with any of your meds it will come up. Here is a sample report:

    1 potential interaction was found for the drugs you selected.

    You searched for interactions between the following drugs:

    * Zoloft
    * Zyrtec

    (Note: Not all drug interactions are known or reported in the literature, and new drug interactions are continually being reported. This information is provided only for your education and for you to discuss with your personal healthcare provider. )

    SERTRALINE HYDROCHLORIDE (in Zoloft) may interact with GRAPEFRUIT JUICE

    Sertraline is broken down in the body by the liver. Grapefruit may interfere with the liver’s ability to break down the sertraline, causing sertraline to remain in the body for a longer period of time. This could cause an increase in both the intended effect and the side effects of sertraline including nausea, dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbances. Patients taking sertraline may want to avoid any type of grapefruit including its juice, the fruit itself, and any supplements that may contain grapefruit. You may drink other types of juices with sertraline. You may want to ask your healthcare provider about this potential interaction if you think you are having problems.

    This interaction is poorly documented and is considered minor in severity.

  39. Lara

    National Geographic, welcome to fifteen years ago.

    I still See A Great Need for a standardised-dose grapefruit-extract pill for people to take in combination with one-eighth of their normal dose of unbelievably expensive patented cholesterol medication. With appropriate research and monitoring, of course. Don’t try this at home.

  40. goblinbee

    Hattie, your pumelo and avocado salad sounds divine. Oiishii!!

  41. Frigga's Own

    That grapefruit looks like it might just be worth $40. The way that this year’s weather is going, it might not take fair labor practices to run citrus prices through the roof. You know who I blame for global warming.

  42. Ledasmom

    I like to take a sharp knife, cut away the peel and pith together (leaving a gorgeous pink globe) and then either cut out the segments to eat from a bowl with thin slices of good crisp apple or slice it thinly across and lay the slices in a baking dish with halved bananas, slices of pineapple and slices of orange. Then you sprinkle it with brown sugar and drizzle it with honey to your desired sweetness level, toss a pinch of crushed thyme over it and bake it at about 400 degrees, ladling the juice over the baking fruit every so often.

  43. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Cypress, it is cheap flank steak pounded with a meat hammer until your arm’s about ready to fall off. Then it is first dipped in an egg wash, and then dipped in seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried, similar to fried chicken. In the southwestern US it used to also be known as saddleblanket steak. After it’s cooked, you serve it doused in white gravy I don’t know how to make because I don’t like it, and I don’t cook what I don’t like. Life’s too short. It is greasy fried deliciousness, and Twisty wisely avoids it for sound animal abuse and cardiovascular reasons. I would also add upped risk for colon cancer.

  44. Twisty

    Xanax comes with a “don’t take with grapefruit” sticker. Not that I know from personal experience; I’m an Ativan girl, myself. But I’ve seen it. Maybe that’s why all those dieting models keep keeling over.

  45. Joanna

    Mmmmm, Ledasmom, sounds divine.
    I’m glad I found out about this. I seriously love grapefruit, but have been eating much of it lately because I tend get breakfast fixations and eat the same thing every day for several months until I switch to something else. But lately I had the most delicious ruby red grapefruit and I was thinking of buying a bag.

    I’m glad someone brought this up, because I had never heard of it before. I did some research last night and found that the makers of Cymbalta do indeed say that grapefruit may “increase serum levels” (thanks, very informative to the lay person). There are many web pages out there with explanations, and lists, but I think the information is still so new that there is a lot of inconsistency. No sticker on my bottle, and the information is probably buried in the fine print of the two-page handout that I always chuck in the recycling bag when my mail-order Rx arrives. I have to see the doc to renew my Rx, so we’ll have a conversation about this.

  46. Orange

    No sooner had I read the discussion of beslathered and besugared chips than I hied myself to the kitchen, extracted some El Ranchero chips (ingredients: corn, oil, lime) from the bag, spread some butter on ‘em, sprinkled on some sugar, and OMIGOD THAT’S TASTY. The Mister declared the spreading/sprinkling process to be too labor-intensive and mixed up a dippin’ dish of butter and sugar. I am crunching away at this very moment. The spreading process does lend a superior grease-to-crunch ratio, though, so the dippin’ option is strictly for the lazy.

  47. Come the Revolution

    White gravy, Cypress, is made with the leftover grease from chicken frying said steak, add white flour, white milk, white salt and heavy on the black pepper.

  48. zz

    Thanks for the tamoxifen/grapefruit warning, badkitty. I’ve been taking tamoxifen for the last few weeks and have had more than one grapefruit in that time. This new development seriously cheeses me off.

  49. kate

    Flank steak ain’t cheap anymore, at least not around these parts (nor’east). Round steak will work just as well, don’t forget though to give it a good beating. White gravy, made the real way with pan drippings, equal parts of flour and butter made into a paste over heat with milk added gradually and lots of black pepper is something nice. Like blackeye peas, grits and bacon, southern Missouri style, homey.

  50. anne

    In the interest of interactions of foods with medications, I would recommend anyone on meds to either ask their pharmacist about such things or buy a book on the matter. In my nutrition classes and in my nursing classes, we have such books on our to read lists – they come in a compact version that is easy to interpret. It’s really a good idea to peruse such texts, even if you’re “only” on herbal supplements. Lots of chemistry that we aren’t aware of goes on in our bodies, especially when we mix food and drugs. And drugs and drugs. And drugs and herbs. Etcetera.

    I also wish to address the topic of farming, but I think I’ll do that via email.

  51. Pony

    Lara

    Don’t take cholesterol lowering medicine with or without grapefruit, at home or anywhere else, especially if you’re a woman. There is no evidence for women:

    “Are lipid lowering medications evidence-based?”

    Short answer “NO”.

    http://www.thelancet.com Vol 369 January 20, 2007

  52. MzNicky

    I want to know about the Tempur-pedic bed. Is it awesome? Is it difficult to ever leave once one is in it? Does one have to take out a second mortgage in order to buy it?

  53. Twisty

    I bought a 2″ thick memory foam mattress pad covered with a goose-down quilty zipper thing, for about $150 bucks. If your mattress is already pretty firm, this cheep combo produces a result indistinguishable from the real thing. An actual Tempur-Pedic only has 2″ of memory foam itself. It’s the same foam. I can be coaxed out of it only with extreme diligence on the part of the coaxer.

    Probably it will turn out that there’s some hideous carcinogen in the memory foam. That will be a black day.

  54. Pinko Punko

    Plus it is also probably massively flammable.

    “Do not smoke near memory foam.”

    “Do not taunt memory foam.”

    “Do not look at memory foam.”

    “Do not run with memory foam.”

    “Do not mix grapefruit juice with memory foam.”

  55. Page Escallier

    Your blog is on the very high level and includes a lot of very interesting information and was very useful for me.

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