Texas’ State Fruit — the Grapefruit — Is Under Fire

Photo: Rachelle King

When I first moved to Texas two years ago, I ate so much grapefruit that my now-wife had to force me to stop. I was getting sick, but I couldn’t get over how cheap the fruits were (four for $1 last week at Sprouts). Even the grapefruit juice was cheap, defying all of Ocean Spray’s supply-chain economics. I would eat a grapefruit for breakfast, and wash it down with a glass of grapefruit juice. Scurvy didn’t stand a chance in that apartment.

I’d send photos of grapefruit prices to my dad with pithy comments like, “Bet you wish it was this cheap in New York!” and he’d text back something like “You really need to get a life.” I defended grapefruit to everyone, and loaded my cart with them every week.

Now Slate seems to think they’re the worst fruits ever harvested, a scourge on our stomachs and stockings. From their completely off-base piece this morning:

This killjoy has already invaded our breakfast routines. Its baleful pink, white, or red flesh shines from thousands of tables. Its pulp gets stuck in our teeth. Its juice stains our clothes. And now, we are asked to inflict the scourge on our relatives, shipping it off in packages of 12 or more in order to demonstrate our love?

No. Grapefruit is unwieldy, disgusting, and in some cases dangerous to eat. It is indisputably the worst fruit anyone has ever put on a plate.

No, you’re unwieldy, disgusting, and in some cases dangerous to eat, Katy Waldman. (I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. Truly. You’re probably lovely. I’ve resorted to playground tactics.) She goes on to explain that the compounds in grapefruit inhibit the proper processing of some medications, meaning grapefruit is literally killing you. This, no. The same warning is on the side of every bottle of pills I’ve ever seen, and it’s never stopped me from washing down an antibiotic with a beer.

She also mentions grapefruit tastes disgusting and is impossible to eat. Erroneous! Erroneous on both counts! The truth is, when properly ripened, grapefruit is delicious, and, with two minutes of time, easy to eat. Get it together, Waldman!


  • Liz Johnstone

    Before I agree with you, Brad, let me just say that I’m loving the frequent ‘Wedding Crashers’ references.

  • Anne Armstrong

    According to Side Dish, Emporium Pies has a grapefruit pie. Awesome.

  • citycollegekid

    I too love the fresh local summer grapefruit at my wholefoods but alast since out of season I can tell the difference between the substandard imports. Hail to the grapefruit! I even use it for slushies.

  • EveryoneHeartsOC

    Yeah, it’s true. While I normally loathe your liberal rantings, your frequent Wedding Crashers references, combined with your current defense of the unapprrciated grapefruit, make you seem almost…tolerable.

  • BradfordPearson

    This warms my cold liberal heart.

  • AmyS

    I bet a few people send the poor thing a grapefruit spoon.

  • Yum

    I would agree that yellow Florida grapefruits are terrible. But our Texas pink ones (remember the Ruby Reds?) are fantastic. Growing up, my mom served a half to each of us many nights as a first course for dinner. My sister and I had the job of preparing them. Although they didn’t need it, we loved to sprinkle them with some granulated sugar.

  • Stells

    You could easily make all those arguments about oranges, Katy Waldman, but you don’t. What makes oranges so superior?

  • Bill Marvel

    Some medications are better left unprocessed.

  • A. B.

    A grapefruit spoon? I propose we each send her a single grapefruit by mail.