I started today with freshly squeezed, wonderfully ripe grapefruit juice courtesy of our vintage grapefruit tree. I love the sweet-sour-bitter flavour.
This year, in late February the tree still has a few fruit on it. That’s even after several batches of marmalade.
It isn’t like this every year – it depends a lot on the weather. Usually this variety of grapefruit are ripe from July onwards. In 2015 our grapefruit were knocked by a couple of hard frosts, and they rotted on the tree. I think maybe last year’s frosts didn’t come at critical times for grapefruit.
Our grapefruit tree must be at least fifty years old. It’s not a “classic” grapefruit - it’s actually a Poorman’s orange or Sunfruit. The fruit are (when fully ripe) much sweeter than the kind of grapefruit you get in a supermarket. This kind of grapefruit is prized for making marmalade. Which is hugely important to the British part of my heritage. My husband Matthew, who was born in Aberdeen, where they definitely can’t grow grapefruit, makes marmalade every year. So did my father, Ralph, who was born in Hereford.
Here’s a link to an article with more about grapefruit, plus my Dad’s marmalade recipe.
New Zealand’s iconic backyard grapefruit trees are falling victim to changes in eating patterns. Very few of my friends appreciate grapefruit. And because people who are on blood thinning medication are advised not to eat grapefruit (it interferes with the action of the medication), many older people are no longer eating grapefruit.
Now that our crop is just about finished, we’re accepting grapefruit donations. My friend Maxine has a tree of Wheeny grapefruit which are ripe about now, and she’s generously sending some our way. They’re pale yellow and not as sweet as the Sunfruit – almost lemon flavoured. They make a beautiful breakfast juice. And maybe another batch of marmalade…