Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Think Outside The Grove

Tart and tangy grapefruits are available year round, but are at their best from winter through early spring. The juiciest grapefruits are shiny, heavy for their size with a thin, fine texture, and stored at room temperature. They will keep longer however, (2 weeks) in the refrigerator crisper.
This tropical fruit heralds some impressive health benefits. One half of a large grapefruit has only 50 calories but is packed with more than half a day's supply of vitamin C and some fiber, potassium, folate, and pantothenic acid. The pink and red varieties also contain vitamin A. The red colors of grapefruit are due to the carotenoid lycopene, which is just one of the more than 150 phytonutrients found in grapefruit. The soluble fiber-rich pectin in grapefruit may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The juice is also loaded with antioxidants, but lacks the fiber. Grapefruit's powerful antioxidant activity has been linked to protecting against colon and lung cancer, preventing cardiovascular disease, improving lung function in people with asthma, boosting liver enzymes that clear out carcinogens, and repairing damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells. Although the grapefruit diet has been debunked as a magical fat burner, the low glycemic index, fiber rich, low-calorie nature of grapefruit may reduce insulin levels and help dieters feel full and eat fewer calories. Beyond that, there is no evidence that grapefruit contains fat burning enzymes. Research has however, linked drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice to a possible increase in the risk of breast cancer. In addition, compounds in grapefruit can interfere with enzymes that metabolize certain drugs, increasing the potency of several prescription drugs including statins, antiarrhythmic agents, immunosuppressive agents, and calcium channel blockers.
Grapefruit's flavor works well with salad greens, avocado, fish, ginger, honey, walnuts, mint, basil, and cilantro. Add grapefruit segments to salads and salsas, or mix grapefruit juice with club soda and add mint leaves for a fruit spritzer. It's tangy juice also brightens sauces and dressings. For dessert, add grapefruit segments to your cheesecake mix or cobbler recipe. Substitute the liquid in muffin and cornbread mixes with grapefruit juice. Not only does it remind us of summer, but the flavor of fresh citrus when combined with other ingredients has tremendous appeal.

Grapefruit Teriyaki Glaze

1 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 & 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
Zest and juice of half an orange
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat lightly oiled saucepan over high heat. Add onions and ginger and saute until soft. Add orange zest, juice, grapefruit juice, soy sauce, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and allow liquid to reduce. Add salt and pepper. Transfer glaze to a blender and drizzle in oil - blend until smooth. Use on chicken, salmon, and pork. Makes about 1 cup (8 servings).
*Calories: 70, Total fat: 3.5 G, Sat. fat: 0 G, Trans fat: 0 G, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 650mg, Carbohydrates: 9 G, Fiber: 0 G, Sugar: 5 G, Protein: 1 G.

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