As much as everyone looks forward to seeing citrus fruits, especially oranges, on fruit carts around winter time, they only arrive after the grapefruits.
“Actually the bitter varieties arrive first and from there, as the days go by and the weather changes, they move to the sweeter varieties such as mosambi or sweet lime, malta or oranges and kinnow or mandarin, etc,” explains fruit-seller Ameer Bakhsh.
“It is also when you see the healthiest of limes and lemons in the market and they continue to be like this until March,” he adds.
So all fruit shops and vendors have fresh grapefruit to sell since the beginning of November. “The first grapefruit to arrive in the market are all coming from orchards in Faisalabad,” says another fruit vendor, Munawar. He picks up a few from the basket for me to have a closer look. They are quite big in size as grapefruits usually are. Munawar informs me that each individual piece costs Rs40, making it Rs480 for a dozen.
The size of the fruit makes me wonder if it is too big for my citrus juicer at home because grapefruits are usually used for juicing. With a little bit of salt and black pepper mixed in, it tastes just amazing.
For those who are weight conscious or looking to lose weight, the fruit is nothing short of a blessing in disguise. It is known to have fat-burning qualities. Some also like to cut it into half and have it with a spoon after either sprinkling a bit of salt and pepper over it or also some powdered sugar substitute.
Grapefruits can be of two varieties. Some are yellow from the inside as they are on the outside while some are pink. But whatever the variety, they are all low in calories while being full of nutrients. People who like to start their day with grapefruit have shown improvement in blood pressure and lipid levels, which also happen to be connected to obesity.
With more to offer in the form of fibre and potassium, grapefruit is also good for the heart. And being a great source of vitamin A and C, it is a rich source of antioxidants, too, which combat cancer. The fruit is also known to help those with an asthma condition.
Grapefruit is basically 91 per cent water, so it also good for hydration, which together with the vitamin C helps the skin look good.
Still, many fussy mothers worry about giving grapefruit to their children as it is bitter. But the bitter and sour flavour in citrus fruits actually points to its having extra vitamin C. So a visit to the fruit shop for some grapefruit this season is not that bad an idea.
Originally published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018