Dark secrets of the grapefruit — REVEALED


Okay, admit it. You’re a little bit curious.

Today I’m going to ask the question that Big Citrus doesn’t want you to know about. That question is:

Where did the grapefruit come from?

“From the supermarket,” you say? Fair enough. But let’s dig deeper. Let’s delve into the shadowy, shady — one might almost say seedy — history of the grapefruit.

If you’re like me, you never thought much about this before. If someone had asked, I would’ve guessed that the grapefruit had been around in more or less its current form, pretty much forever (or at least the last million years).

But that’s just a comforting myth. A fairy tale. A vast fruit-wing conspiracy. A Vitamin-C-onspiracy. A convenient facade that —

What? Oh, sorry.

Anyway, here’s the real deal. Sometime in the last 500 years, somewhere in the Caribbean, an orange got crossed with another fruit called a pomelo. “By accident,” the scientists would have you believe. The result of this unholy union (or at least, this secular union) was a thing so terrifying that biologists of the day called it THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT.

(By the way, this is all actually true, more or less.)

But even that shiver-inducing spawn was only the beginning. It had not yet developed into the ruby-red grapefruit that Americans fawn over today. For that, we needed…


Yes, scientists working in dark (or perhaps well-lit) laboratories in the 1970s deliberately bathed this pale fruit in radiation, hoping to induce MUTATIONS. And their horrifying experiment in playing God was all too successful. The ruby-red grapefruit was born.

(Also all actually true.)

Also grapefruit are safe to eat and none of this was unethical nor has it ever been secret BUT now you know!

And what is known cannot be un-known!!

I mean, unless you forget or something.

In conclusion: I like typing the word GRAPEFRUIT!

4 responses to “Dark secrets of the grapefruit — REVEALED

  1. Nit pick time. Based on your source, and others, the ruby red grapefruit was a discovered, not produced, mutant, found in the early 1900’s. The late 1900’s experiments produced more desirable mutations of the ruby red. While the majority of us likely consume intentionally mutated Grapefruit marketed as just “ruby red”, the ruby red did exist, and was popular, before the mutated versions existed.

    ok, i’m done.

    • Nitpick of the nitpick time! I said “ruby-red,” i.e., the color, not “Ruby Red,” the breed. The problem with the original Ruby Red breed was that it faded to pink, meaning it was no longer ruby-red. Hence the need for radiation.


      That said, what I wrote was certainly misleading. Thanks for the clarification.

      P.S. I include source links for a lot of stuff on this blog… I gotta admit, I was not expecting the grapefruit post to be the one that got fact-checked. 🙂

  2. If I were a religious person, which I’m not, I would take this as evidence of god’s greatness, since, apparently, god made the good fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) and it took men to make something as unappetizing as a grapefruit (I don’t like grapefruit).

    However, though you answered several questions that I didn’t know enough to ask (thanks), you didn’t answer the most important one, which is why the heck is it called a “grapefruit”? It bears no relationship that I can see to a grape, and, in any case, it’s not a “pomme de terre” situation, since it’s not a “grape that’s a fruit” since a grape is already a fruit.

    • Good question! According to etymology site Etymonline.com, “Said to have been so called for its taste, or perhaps because it grows in clusters. Perhaps a marketing name; it was known by various names (pomelo, shaddock) before the current one emerged.”

      I don’t think they taste much like grapes, so I’m gonna go with the clusters thing.

      P.S. I love grapefruit :-O

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