The Texas reds, unfortunately, are only picked October through May. I look forward to them coming in season this time of year. For too many months, I must substitute California grapefruit.
The grapefruit from our southern neighbor lack a few attributes, but the main one that all-important touch of sweetness, tending to be simply sour.
Why Texas grows better grapefruit than California might have to do with the terroir, as wine aficionados would say.
Yes, Texas and California--for grapefruit--both have sunshine. But sub-tropical South Texas, where grapefruit grow, has summers that cook with humidity, unlike California's desert climate. Could grapefruit photosynthesize better with just the right combination of heat, humidity, and fertile soil?
The proof, they say, is in the eating.
More and more California growers are switching to red grapefruit from traditional whites, but a California red that is only sour is my unavoidable substitute when no Texas reds are available. I couldn't stand no grapefruit at all!
Looking ahead, I know that any seasonal crop, as Texas reds, has weeks of increasing quality, followed by weeks of decreasing quality. "Peak of the season" is the phrase.
I think the Japanese are much more sensitive to freshness of food and knowing when a certain food is at it's peak for the season. It boggles the mind a bit, but many Japanese know when yellowtail tuna (hamachi), as an example, have their one or two weeks of near perfection. It's instructive to think that these animals swimming through ocean waters reach some sort of optimal taste for only a week or two out of fifty-two, when ocean temperature and marine food supply are best for the yellowtail tuna. The Japanese part with their yen accordingly. There is only a fixed supply at the peak and many bidders!
But back to grapefruit. My joy today was knowing the Texas reds were in. Unlike apples, for example, where one variety can best another for flavor and texture, depending where the apple is in its season, that's not true for Texas red grapefruit. Any Texas red, no matter when, is better than its poor California cousin.
Read Charlie Dickinson's
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at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
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