The grapefruit was discovered in Barbados in the late 18th century. It is a cross between the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo, and up until the 19th century it was grown as decoration rather than as an edible treat. The fruit comes in a variety of colors, and flavors can range from highly acidic to bitter sweet and tart. While grapefruit is beneficial for your health, as it is rich in vitamin C, the fruit has also been shown to inhibit certain chemotherapy and blood pressure medications.
Grapefruits were originally harvested by climbing the trees or by using picking hooks, which often damaged the fruit. Now, lower fruits are picked by hand whereas the higher ones are reached with ladders. Some California groves have also begun employing modified olive tree limb-shakers, which can cause some damage to the crop but makes the harvesting process more efficient.
When selecting grapefruits, look for ones that are heavier than expected for their size. This means that they will have a thinner flesh and more juice. When pressed, ripe grapefruits will be firm but a little springy. If you plan on eating your grapefruit right away, store at room temperature as they are juicier when warm. Otherwise, keep grapefruit in the refrigerator. They will stay ripe for two to three weeks.