I have discovered a secret at my corner co-op market. It appears around the first of June and lasts only a couple of weeks.
It is sweet, pink grapefruit.
My corner market always has grapefruit. But I’ve noticed the lowest basket bin, the one right above the floor, seems to have a special variety this time of year. I love it because it dosen’t make me pucker at breakfast. A family friend visiting from England once sang with joy when she tasted it.
My Grandpa Dayton is the one who taught me that I could eat grapefruit. I had regulated the yellow orbs to the “uncomfort food” group that one avoids. They aren’t as friendly and portable as their smaller, tangy cousin. And in our family a special saw-edged spoon was always set out designed to tear into the pulp pockets – and then rake my lips.
My dad showed me how to sprinkle white sugar over the top. But the granular crunch only seemed to tame the upper surface. And then squeeze the juice into the saw-edged spoon? Forget about it. Was anyone really enjoying this experience?
But then Grandpa showed me his grapefruit treatment one snowy morning in his Illinois kitchen. After cutting one in half he smoothed the glistening, acidic surface with honey. And then he broiled it. In the toaster oven. In minutes we were enjoying a warm, slurpy-sweet breakfast treat. During the broiling process the honey had thinned and then oozed down through the pulp, neutralizing it. No bitter, surprise ending with Grandpa’s grapefruit.
This simple, culinary trick silenced me with reverence.
I have progressed. I can now eat most any kind of grapefruit like a regular grown-up. I can drink my bitter, citrus dregs and still have a good day – mostly.
But I welcome the first sweet weeks of June when it is finally light at breakfast and eating a grapefruit unadorned really puts me in the pink.
Cooking tip of the day: If you can see the bellybutton of a grapefruit before you cut it in half, you are slicing it the wrong way. Roll it over on its side before you slice it so you can get those cute triangular pockets of pulp to dig into.