A Grapefruit question:

October 6th, 2010 by Colonel Tiki

forbiddenfruit1750barbados

Does anyone out there have an earlier reference to grapefruit?

From The Natural History of Barbados, By the Reverend Mr. Griffith Hughes, A.M., Rector of St. Lucy’s Parish, Published 1750.

For those who have trouble with the out of fashion ‘long s,’ it reads:

The Trunk, Leaves and Flowers of this Tree, very much resemble those of the Orange-tree. The Fruit, when ripe, is something longer and larger than the largest Orange; and exceeds, in the Delicacy of its Taste, the Fruit of every Tree in this or any of our neighbouring Islands. It hath somewhat the Taste of a  Shaddock; but far exceeds that, as well as the best Orange, in its delicious Taste and Flavour. This is delineated in Plate VII.

“Shaddock” was the contemporary term for a Pomello.

forbiddenfruit1750barbadosplates

5 Responses to “A Grapefruit question:”

  1. Great to see you back Colonel, I’ve really missed your posts. Don’t know the history of the grapefruit, but I definitely prefer the acidic white grapefruit over the pink and especially the ruby red varieties in my cocktails. I like to think of the ruby red variety as the grapefruit that was bred for people who don’t like grapefruit.

  2. Colonel Tiki says:

    Thanks, Craig!

    Most common varietals are bred for the features most desirable for transport, shelf life, yield, ease of harvest, and appearance. The Ruby Red is a perfect example of this phenomena. Duncan/Marshes from Florida or Oroblanco/Melogolds from California are the way to go. The season stars soon!

  3. Todd Appel says:

    After doing a light bit of research after seeing this post, it looks clearly like this was something of a hybrid between the orange and shaddock that most likely was accidental and Carribbean based…I think that anecdotal evidence is that among citrus around the world, Grapefruits are not something that indigenous people eat, ate or used…lending more credence that this was a hybrid most likely arising sometime in the late 17th or early 18th centuries…Thius also something that was more associated with European colonists. Looks like this could very well be the first written reference to the grapefruit…fucking love those things!!! I always wondered why in places like Brasil or anywhere in South America or central America, there is absolutely no use of Grapefruit. Makes sense now.

  4. Tiare says:

    Here`s what i found – Pummelos and oranges crossed together (probably naturally) produced the first grapefruits, which were discovered in Barbados, West Indies. Pummelos develop much tastier fruits in tropical and subtropical countries than grapefruits (which get very bitter). The Tahitian pomplemousse variety of pummelo is extremely popular in French Polynesia.

    http://www.pbif.org/WebGallery/Default.aspx?directory=2212&action=View&sortorder=Ascending&dirsortorder=Ascending&file=3200

    Then i found this:

    The main citrus tree in the French Polynesian islands is “pamplemousse”. Although closely related, grapefruit and pamplemousse – in English: pomelo, shaddock and pummelo – are not the same. In fact, a grapefruit is a cross of pamplemousse and orange. The cross of pamplemousse with a mandarine is – an orange!

    The pamplemousse is the largest citrus fruit, the peel is greenish, whereas the grapefruit’s peel is bright yellow, and it is more sour than a grapefruit, it is less juicy but has a higher vitamin C content.

    To make things really irritating, the German word of a cross of grapefruit and pamplemousse is called Pomelo. (And grapefruit is Grapefruit, and pamplemousse is Pampelmuse.)

    The French call a grapefruit pomelo.

    So we have three different fruits all called Pomelo…

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