Grapefruits were discovered in the eighteenth century in Barbados. The fruit is believed to be a recent addition to the genus. Many fruit experts believe that the grapefruits are a cross between orange and pomelo, both of them being citrus fruits. Pomelo was brought to Barbados from Indonesia in the seventeenth century.
The resulting fruit was very high in Vitamin C and several other antioxidants and was given the name grapefruit. It was called so because Jamaicans observed the way the fruit arranged itself when growing and looked similar to grapes. Also, the premature fruits look very similar to grapes from a distance.
In the 19th century, Florida started growing this fruit first. Only in later half of the 19th century it was sold commercially and until then, it was not seen as a viable crop. In the US, Florida is a major producer of grapefruit. There are several other states and countries, such as California, Arizona, Texas and Brazil, which produce grapefruit. However, today, the US produces the major share contributing to 41 percent of its overall world production. According to the U.S Grapefruit Corp., Florida grows 75 percent of the grapefruits produced in the country. Florida has an ideal weather for the production of the fruit because it prevents frost with its warm currents. The Indian River Grapefruit Co. is the most famous in the US. There are imported varieties that come from the Bahamas.
Most of the varieties of grapefruit are seedless. Growers in Florida have consistently worked on improving the quality of the fruit. They work towards reducing the number of seeds in the fruit. One grapefruit tree can produce up to 1,500 pounds of fruit in a year. Sixty percent of the grapefruit produced is converted to juice.
The two main varieties of grapefruit grown are red and white. In white, there are the white marsh and marsh seedless which is a Florida fruit and is seedier than the Duncan but more flavorful too. The red blush is ruby red in color and has pink flesh within. The skin also has a golden yellow tinge. In the last few years there were several more varieties that were produced, such as the Rio Red, Star Ruby and Red Blush.
The quality of the grapefruit depends mainly on the time of the year when harvesting takes place. The area where the fruits are grown also makes a difference. The grapefruit tree needs warm weathers similar to Mediterranean to prosper.
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