The citrus fruit family is very diverse, but the original citrus plant where the rest of the species came from, is believed to have its origins in Asia.
Most citrus fruits are as a result of cross breeding between the original citron, Pomelo and mandarin, all native to Asia, and believed to have evolved from the parent citrus plant.
They have spread throughout the world as cross-breeds, and cross-breeds of those cross-breeds. To get a better description of this cross breeding process see
On this chapter we will be focusing on one particular specie, the Grape fruit. Grape fruit is known as balungi in Swahili. It is a citrus fruit that comes from a subtropical citrus tree and it first appeared in the 18th century as a cross breed between pomelo (a large citrus fruit) and a sweet orange.
Grapefruit was first recorded in Barbados and in most West Indies Islands before spreading into the Americas.
The name grapefruit was coined as it grows in clusters like grapes. In taste, grape fruit is described by some as bitter, sour to semi- sweet, some people even describe it to have a tarty taste.
China’s the leading producer of grape fruit, and other significant producers include United States, Vietnam and Mexico. In Africa, grapefruit is cultivated in the south, with mass production being in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Grapefruit is readily available, whilst in season, in many open air fruit vendors markets and also in supermarkets. It might be considered pricey in most households, thus a luxury fruit, however, its addition to the diet is beneficial to achieving good health.
Grape fruit is consumed as a whole fruit, as a juice or pulp. Some other culinary ways to add grape fruit to your diet include:
Adding it as an ingredient in food or fruit salad.
Grapefruit can also be used to make marmalade thus;
- Used as meat and vegetable glaze
- As a spread on toast
- Make some sauce for meats and cakes
- Prepare cake fondant
Some health benefits of the grapefruit include:
- Prevent diabetes.
- Improve immunity as it contains vitamin C good for fighting disease.
- It is low in calories yet has high nutrients
- High in antioxidants, lycopene, flavanones and beta- carotene
- Fighting of free radicals believed to cause cancer by the antioxidants
- Grapefruit contains a significant amount of water and fiber that aid in digestion