A fresh tangy grapefruit can make a great start to your day. What’s even better is if you have your own grapefruit trees to simply pluck fresh, sunkissed fruit from. How to pick a grapefruit off a tree is simple, just take hold of the fruit gently in your hand and twist it off the branch. Make sure it’s good and ripe first. The longer you leave the fruits on the tree, the sweeter they become. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
How Do You Know When Grapefruit Are Ready To Pick?
Grapefruit trees need a hot, sunny climate in which to thrive. These heat lovers really don’t like the cold, and the fruits won’t ripen if temperatures are too low.
It takes around six to nine months for most fruits to ripen, depending on the climate and variety of tree. The hotter the temperatures are day and night, the sweeter the fruits will be.
Late autumn is the most usual time to pick the fruits, although leaving them on the tree won’t cause any harm to the fruits in fact they just become sweeter and remain fresh for you to pick whenever you want.
The only drawback to this is the more fruits you leave on the tree, the fewer there will be produced the following season.
To tell if your grapefruits are ripe, you need to look at several things:
A ripe fruit will be an even color all over with no signs of green remaining.
Keep in mind there are several types of grapefruits, and their ripe color varies from red to pink, yellow, and orange. There is one exception to this, which is the Oro Blanco, a variety that has a bright greenish-yellow coloration.
The fruit should be of a good size for the variety, and this will vary depending on the type you have.
In shape, they should be oval with a flat top and bottom. If they are too round, then they aren’t ripe.
Lastly, check the firmness. Give the fruits a gentle squeeze, and the flesh should spring back. If they are too hard, they are not ripe, too soft, and they may be going bad.
Patience is a virtue with grapefruits, leaving them on the tree for as long as possible will help them to become really sweet and juicy.
The best way to tell if your grapefruits are truly ripe is, of course, to taste one! Remember, however, that not all the fruits on the tree will ripen at the same time, so check them out individually before harvesting.
What Does A Ripe Grapefruit Feel Like?
A ripe grapefruit is plump and heavy in your hand with a firm, but not hard skin. It is full of juice, and you shouldn’t feel any soft spots.
The same applies to grapefruits you buy in the store. Check them out by picking them up, and feeling them in your hand.
The skin should be smooth with a minimum amount of damage, and it should smell fresh and zingy.
If the fruit feels soft or squishy, then it’s gone bad.
Does Grapefruit Ripen Off The Tree?
Never be tempted to pick grapefruits that aren’t quite ripe. The reason is once picked, they don’t continue ripening but actually begin to decay, all be it very slowly.
The same is true of other citrus fruits too, so this is something you may want to keep in mind with oranges, lemons, or limes as well.
It’s best to just leave the grapefruits on the tree to sweeten rather than picking them before they are ready.
What To Do With Unripe Grapefruit?
Unripe grapefruit will be terrible to eat, but there are a few things you could try providing they aren’t too far from ready.
1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
This is a fun and very ecological way to use up any slightly under-ripe fruits or excess if you have too many.
At its simplest, all you need do is cut a grapefruit in half, add a little coarse salt and use it to scrub. It works rather like a scouring sponge and will remove cooked on food, limescale, and even light rust.
If you want to get a little fancier, squeeze the juice from your grapefruits and then boil up the rinds in some water. Combine the juice and rind water with white vinegar to make your own multi-surface cleaner. Pop it in an empty spray bottle, and away you go!
You can also use grapefruit juice as a descaler for shower heads or kettles by soaking the item in the juice for a few hours.
It’s best to always do a spot test before using, just to make sure you don’t get any unexpected reactions you don’t want.
One of my favorite aromas for skincare is grapefruit. Its fresh citrusy scent is perfect for everyone. It’s a thorough yet gentle cleanser on the skin.
- 17 oz Extra virgin, organic Olive Oil
- 7 oz Pure, cold pressed, organic coconut oil
- 2 oz Organic, cold pressed grapeseed oil
- ½ tsp Ground grapefruit peel powder (dehydrate your grapefruit peel and grind it into a fine, dustlike powder using a clean, electric coffee grinder or pestle and mortar)
- ½ tsp Pink clay powder, a combination of white and red clays (optional)
- ½ tsp Ratan jot root powder (optional)
- 15 ml Grapefruit essential oil
- 8.4 oz Distilled water
- 3.6 oz Sodium hydroxide (Lye)
- Measuring jug to make you lye
- Digital kitchen scales
- Glass mixing bowl for oils
- Two smaller glass bowls for separating the different colors
- Clean, 1-liter juice or milk cartons or soap molds
In this video, you can see how to make a cold process soap. Simply substitute the above ingredients or read the directions below:
Ensure you always work safely and always wear protective eyewear gloves and clothing when using lye. This is not a process that should be attempted by a child who is not being closely supervised by an adult.
Your workspace should be very well-ventilated.
1. The day before you want to make your soap, make your lye water.
Put your room temperature distilled water into a heat-resistant measuring jug. Very, very slowly, and gently, while continually stirring, add the sodium hydroxide to the distilled water. Never add water to the sodium-hydroxide! Stir gently until it is completely dissolved.
The mixture gets hot and dangerous very fast and will give off powerful fumes. To avoid breathing them in, always work in a well-ventilated place, such as a kitchen with all the windows open and the extraction fan switched on to full, or do it outside.
2. Allow the lye to cool to room temperature overnight.
3. Mix the Olive, Coconut, and Grapeseed oils together in your mixing bowl. If the coconut oil is solid, gently heat it first, but only enough so that it melts and no more. It should only get warm, not hot.
4. When your oils are at room temperature, pour the lye mix into them, stirring rapidly and continually in small circles. Only ever add the lye mix to the oil mix and never the other way around. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick.
5. Quickly add in your grapefruit essential oil and ground grapefruit peel, and then separate the mixture into two bowls, adding the pink clay powder to one and the Ratan Jot to the other and mix well. This will give you two different color mixtures.
6. Pour the mixtures into molds the darker on the bottom and gently the paler on the top. Or can be creative about how you combine the colors. As molds, you can use things like clean, empty fruit juice or milk cartons. Fold the top down over and seal it with tape. Or use soap molds.
8. Wrap the molds in a towel and refrigerate for 48 hours.
9. Carefully remove the molds from the soap and cut your soap into even portions, about one-inch wide works well.
10. Place each of the individual bars on a wire rack and place them somewhere where there is an even room temperature to cure for at least 6 weeks.
11. Once cured, you can buff the soaps up with a lint-free cloth before wrapping them up as gifts for family or friends and, of course, to enjoy yourself!
2. Animal Repellent
Lots of animals dislike the smell of citrus, cats, dogs, and so on. If you’ve got a problem with animals coming into your yard and using it as their personal latrine, then you can use chopped-up grapefruit rinds to deter them.
If you mix the grapefruit peel with coffee grounds, then it will have even more effect. While being harmless to animals and children.
You’ll need to renew your repellent weekly to keep the scent fresh and strong.
How To Tell If A Grapefruit Is Bad?
A ripe grapefruit left whole will generally last for one or two weeks in a fruit bowl or three to four weeks in the refrigerator.
If you cut the grapefruit, it will stay good for around three or four days when refrigerated.
Due to the short time they stay good once the peel is removed, it’s best not to prep them more than a day in advance.
Although grapefruit doesn’t freeze as a fruit, you can juice it and freeze the juice.
There are a few things that will let you know if your grapefruit has gone bad:
- Texture – After picking, grapefruits slowly start to break down. If you feel the fruit and it’s mushy and soft, then it won’t be good to eat.
- Fluid Leakage – If you notice that the grapefruit has started to ooze a liquid, then it is going rotten and shouldn’t be eaten.
- Visible Mold – Check the skin, if the grapefruit is still whole, for any patches of mold. Also, if the fruit has been cut up, there can be visible mold on the fruit. Do not eat the fruit if it has any signs of mold.
- Bad Smell – This applies mostly to fruits that have been cut up. If they have an odd or peculiar smell, then don’t eat them.
It’s generally quite obvious if the fruit has gone bad, but if you’re in any doubt, it’s always safest not to consume it.
There’s nothing quite like picking your own fruits straight from the tree. One of the advantages of grapefruits is that they can be left on the tree to continue ripening right through the winter months.
In fact, it’s preferable to do this than to pick them as soon as they ripen as they start to decay after harvesting. Plus, the longer they stay on the tree, the sweeter they become.
If you find you have a glut of so many grapefruits, and you just don’t know what to do with them all, don’t panic. Once you’ve picked your grapefruits, there are lots of wonderful things you can turn them into, which can be really useful around your home.