A grapefruit that has been cut and is ready for eating.
A half of a grapefruit is a pretty wonderful way to start your day. Sure it's healthy, but even better, it's a delicious and juicy treat that wakes you up with its puckery taste! Grapefruits do require a small amount of prep work, but it only takes a sharp knife and a short minute to free up those segments. Read on for our step-by-step instructions.
You can't just cut a grapefruit in half and dig in with a spoon. Well, you can but you will make a mess of it. It may seem fussy, but each segment needs to be cut free from its membrane. This actually doesn't take that long and if you have a sharp knife, it's really a breeze.
I recommend using a serrated knife. They are excellent for working with juicy fruits like grapefruits since they don't require a lot of pressure to cut the fragile fruit. I'm also partial to my vintage grapefruit knife, which I picked up for a quarter at a thrift shop (see below.) It has a flexible, angled blade which conforms to the curve of the grapefruit. It's not necessary, but it's a fun and effective tool.
There are basically three kinds of grapefruit: white, pink, and red. Pictured here is an organic red variety from my local farmers' market. In most supermarkets, you have a choice of two or three different types. There is a noticeable difference between each kind, usually in the tart/sweet ratio, so the best way to find your favorite is to try them all. Bon Appétit has a very helpful guide for this:
→ Get the Grapefruit Guide: The Many Faces of Grapefruit from Bon Appétit
Once you've segmented your grapefruit, you can eat it as is or sprinkle it with a little sugar. Another popular thing to do is run it under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the top. (Try Faith's Broiled Grapefruit with Cinnamon Sugar!)
How To Cut and Eat a Grapefruit
What You Need
Sharp serrated knife
1. Cut the grapefruit in half. It's optional, but I sometimes like to take a small slice off of each end of the grapefruit so it will sit flat and not wobble around in my bowl. Then simply cut your grapefruit in half across its equator. If your serrated knife is too short, you may want to use a larger chef knife for this task.
2. Cut around the perimeter. Using your sharp serrated knife, cut the fruit at the place where the pulp and the rind meet. Instead of plunging the knife in straight, place it at a sight angle with the point toward the center to accommodate the curve of the fruit. Using a sawing motion, make your way around the fruit.
3. Free up the segments. Carefully slice on either side of each thin membranes separating the segments. I usually start in the center of the fruit and, using gentle sawing motions, work my way out to the pith. You probably won't get all the flesh off of the membrane but that's OK.
4. Eat and enjoy! Place your grapefruit in a bowl and eat each segment with a spoon. When you're finished, don't forget to squeeze the grapefruit into your bowl and drink up the last of its sweet/tart goodness.
(Images: Dana Velden)