Split this paradise wide open, strew it with sugar

Split this paradise wide open, strew it with sugar
What is sweet and sour and a citrus fruit? You can get it easily at fruit stores across the country. And it is supposed to have come straight from paradise. Its botanical name, in fact, also says so.

Give up? It’s the Citrus Paradisi or grapefruit. At one point in history, it was also called the forbidden fruit (when it was discovered that people were not certain what it was). It grows in clusters like grapes and is called grapefruit for that reason. In hindi, it is known as chakotra.

In India, the common varieties have a pink or a white segmented inside, with a thicker rind like that of the Pomelo or what is called the Chinese grapefruit while the varieties in the US have a thinner rind. Pomelos are lime green or yellow in colour and taste fabulous in salads. The pink grapefruit is commonly used to make grapefruit juice.

We had Pomelo trees in our garden when we were growing up in Koomber tea garden. My mother would get it plucked straight from the tree and serve us a Pomelo for breakfast, sliced in half. If it was too sour, she would put a few spoons of sugar (of course, in those days we knew no better, please use brown sugar now) on the sliced half and my sisters and I would have to finish one half each before we could leave the table.

Grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, carotene, febre, potassium, magnesium, B complex vitamins such as folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, thiamine, iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus lycopene, flavonoids, terpens and limonoids. Phew! With so many nutrients, is it any wonder that it’s called the fruit from paradise!

A very popular diet for weight loss is the 12-day grapefruit diet, which has been around from the 1930s. In fact, top Hollywood actress Sophia Loren used this diet to lose weight. Hundred grammes of grapefruit contains only 42 calories and you get filled up with the fibre. Additionally, this fibre helps in digestion as it bulks up the stools. And the flavonoids help to improve immunity and fight cancer. The vitamin A helps in improving vision as does the beta carotene. The lycopene in grapefruit is known as a cancer scavenger because it works to reduce cancerous growths. Antioxidants present in grapefruit also helps to reduce cholesterol level in a person, thus improving heart health. And the vitamin C keeps colds away.

A great way to try out grapefruit is by baking it instead of eating it raw. You need to find a nice pink variety to get the full flavours of this recipe, which, actually is a meal by its self.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)

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