Take off all of the thick peel.
I crave grapefruit with a passion in the wintertime. Its tangy juiciness is so refreshing. But let's face it: Grapefruit can be a pain to eat, especially in the morning, when you're short on time. Here's how I've been cutting mine up lately — it makes eating grapefruit much neater and easier, for maximum enjoyment of its juicy yumminess.
When eating a grapefruit, you can go a few different ways. You can peel it and divide it into segments, like an orange. But a grapefruit has much tougher membranes than an orange, and personally I find them unpleasant to munch.
Another way to eat the grapefruit is to cut it in half, and scoop out the segments with a serrated grapefruit spoon. I love doing this, especially when the grapefruit has been broiled with a little cinnamon sugar (yum!). But I think of this as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast, when I have time to poke around in the grapefruit with a spoon. I do feel, too, that you lose a lot of juice this way.
The third option in eating a grapefruit is to do what I will show you here: Segment the fruit into slices that have been lifted away from their membranes. This gives you neat slices of grapefruit for eating with breakfast, or in a salad.
This looks time-consuming and fussy — there are quite a few steps! But once you've done it a few times and have got the hang of it, it is very speedy and easy. In my opinion, it's the quickest, easiest way to eat a whole grapefruit and really enjoy it. You do lose a little of the flesh when slicing away the peel, but if your knife skills are good, it shouldn't be too much.
You can do this with oranges, too — see our post on that here:
• How to Segment an Orange (or Any Citrus Fruit)
There are a couple differences when doing a grapefruit; I think it's easier to handle the larger fruit when it is cut in half, for instance.
What You Need
A towel to mop up the juice!
1. Cut the grapefruit in half, top to bottom (not around the center).
2. Lay one half flat on the cutting board and whittle away the skin, leaving as much fruit as you can behind.
3. Take off all of the thick peel.
4. Slice off the top cap of peel.
5. If there are thick ropes of pith still left on the grapefruit, peel these away.
6. Slice carefully into one segment of the grapefruit, as close to a membrane as possible, and make a slit to loosen the segment of fruit.
7. Make a slit on the other side, as close to the membrane as possible, and loosen the fruit completely.
8. Lift out the segment of fruit. (Think of this process like removing pages of a book, in between the covers.)
9. Repeat. At the end, you should have a loose "book" of membranes with the fruit removed.
• As I said above, I think that this does lose a little bit of fruit to the peels, but no more than when you eat a grapefruit with a spoon, and good knife skills will help you remove a lot of peel without losing too much fruit.
(Images: Faith Durand)