In the sweltering summer heat, I often crave lemonade or a citrus sorbet to refresh my taste buds. However, citrus fruits, including grapefruit, are actually in season during winter and for a Midwesterner like me, that usually means it’s snowing. Fortunately, I have access to the fruit from its growers in Florida and California.
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) contains sulfur compounds that lend to its musky, exotic and green aromas. The scent is known to lift the spirits. This fruit is a wonderful source of vitamins C and A, and pink and red grapefruit are particularly rich in lycopene.
In the form of essential oil, grapefruit has many proposed benefits, especially for the lymphatic system. Some examples include relieving congested skin, acne, slack tissue, headaches and depression. Grapefruit also has antiseptic, astringent and bactericidal properties. As far as I’m concerned, it smells good enough to eat and pleasant enough to use in other applications, which is why I picked three things to do with grapefruit.
Please remember that grapefruit can interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, so check your medications before consuming the fruit or juice.
For Your Home
Homemade Grapefruit Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Requires at least two weeks to infuse the mixture.
Distilled white vinegar
Fresh grapefruit peels, with all pulp removed, from about 2 grapefruit
100% pure grapefruit essential oil (*see note below in step 2 of directions)
A ½-quart Mason jar or similar glass container with lid
Plastic spray bottle
- Fill the Mason jar almost completely with the grapefruit peels. Pour in the vinegar until just before it reaches the top of the jar. Close tightly with lid and let infuse for at least two weeks or up to three (I did three weeks). The mixture will be more potent the longer it infuses.
- Next, strain the mixture and discard the peels. Measure your remaining vinegar-grapefruit mixture (I ended up with 1 cup of the vinegar-grapefruit mixture). Add an equal part of water to this and then 10–20 drops of your citrus essential oil of choice. NOTE*: It is not necessary to add essential oil though it will certainly boost the scent of the mixture.
- Pour into the spray bottle for use. Can be used on counters, sinks, toilets, floors or really anywhere a commercial all-purpose cleaner is indicated. I tested mine on my kitchen counter successfully. It did have a slight vinegar smell initially but that disappeared quickly. I will definitely be making more of this non-toxic, citrusy cleaner to keep on hand!
For Your Skin
Brown Sugar Grapefruit Hand and Body Scrub
Recipe adapted from The Home Apothecary
Makes about 1 ½ cups scrub
6 Tablespoons (3 ounces by weight) coconut oil
1 cup coarse brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit zest
100% pure grapefruit essential oil (*see note below)
Clean glass or plastic container with lid
- Melt coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and zest until well combined.
- Add 10 drops of the grapefruit essential oil and stir again. Pour into the clean container. Allow mixture to “set” at room temperature for about 24 hours before using. This is great on both hands and body, especially during the dry, cold winter season. Take care when using while in the bathtub or shower, as the scrub is very emollient due to the coconut oil.
- Always test personal care products on a small patch of skin before first use, if you are unsure about allergies.
NOTE*: For the particular brand of essential oil I used, the grapefruit scent did not smell like grapefruit to me but more like orange. Instead, I decided to use a tangerine essential oil. It is perfectly OK to use another citrus essential oil, such as lemon or orange, if you can’t find one that smells enough like grapefruit.
For Your Taste Buds
Recipe developed by Olena Gudz Danko, MS, RD, LD
Makes about 1 ½ cups
This not-too-bitter vinaigrette would be best on arugula, mixed greens or butter lettuce. It can also be used as a marinade for chicken and white fish.
½ cups fresh-squeezed and strained grapefruit juice (from Ruby Red or Pink)
¼ cups rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons finely grated grapefruit zest
1 ½ teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅔ cups olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- Combine the first six ingredients in the base of a food processor or blender (an immersion blender can also be used). Blend together until smooth.
- Slowly stream in the olive oil, continuing to blend until an emulsion forms.
- Stir in the fresh tarragon.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
NOTE: The mixture will separate when stored and may slightly solidify. Bring slightly to room temperature and shake well before using. Also, the fresh tarragon will likely darken after a day.
- Dugliss-Wesselman, Stacey. (2013). The Home Apothecary. Quarry Books: Beverly, MA.
- Lawless, Julia. (1995). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd: Hammersmith, London.
- McGee, Harold. (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner: New York, NY.