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How to Make Grapefruit Taste Sweeter — 5 Chef’s Tricks That Tame the Tart Flavor

Ever heard of salt on grapefruit? If not, you should try it for a less sour citrus fruit!

If you love snacking on fresh grapefruit but hate that it makes your lips pucker, we’re here to help you out! We’ve found the compound in grapefruit that’s responsible for its bitter taste along with simple tricks to balance the flavor. Some of the ingredients in your pantry like honey, yogurt and even salt help turn this citrus from sour to sweet. This way, you can bask in its bright flavor without the tartness being overwhelming. Plus, you’ll get a nice dose of immune-boosting nutrients — which is another reason to eat more of this fruit. Keep reading for five ways to enhance the sweetness of this tasty citrus!

The basics of grapefruit

Grapefruit is a winter citrus fruit that comes in several varieties including oro blanco, red, pink and white. You can count each variety being rich in vitamins A and C to help strengthen your immune system and ward off chronic disease. However, they vary in color and flavor. “Supposedly, the redder the flesh, the sweeter the flavor, but we find red grapefruit to be the least complex tasting (and often plenty bitter),” Chris Morocco, test kitchen director at Bon Appétit, says. But, this is only the beginning to uncovering what makes grapefruit sour.

Why grapefruit is naturally bitter

Despite the varying degrees of bitterness, all grapefruits contain a flavonoid called naringin that’s responsible for its sharp flavor. Previous research found that the juice vesicles and seeds in grapefruit contain the lowest concentrations of naringin. By contrast, grapefruit’s segment membranes, pith and albedo (the white spongy portion of the peel) contain higher amounts of the flavonoid. Ultimately, the good outweighs the bad with naringin, as it’s associated with having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So, rather than shying away from its strong taste, try balancing grapefruit with the help of pantry staples.

One last thing before enjoying grapefruit

Something to keep in mind is that consuming grapefruit while taking certain medications may cause that medication to linger in your body longer, as opposed to breaking down in a timely manner. This leads to a greater amount of medication present in your blood and the potential for increased side effects. Speaking with your doctor before adding grapefruit into your diet can help you avoid any health complications.

Related: Taking Your Medication With This Popular Beverage Could Make It Less Effective

How to balance grapefruit’s bitter flavor

A segmented grapefruit as part of a guide explaining why the fruit is bitter
Evgeniy Lee/Getty

If you’re searching for ways to smooth out the taste of grapefruit, try these five suggestions! (For more tips on sweetening fruit, read how to make pineapple less acidic.)

1. Sprinkle the fruit with salt.

Adding a light sprinkle of salt to grapefruit may sound odd, but it actually works. Paul Breslin, PhD, professor of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University, explains that sprinkling salt on the fruit reduces the tongue’s ability to detect bitter compounds like naringin. “When I add salt to it, I then suppress some of the negative notes like the bitter taste,” he says. As a result, Dr. Breslin says that suppressing the fruit’s tartness allows for its sweetness to shine through. 

2. Drizzle honey or agave syrup over the fruit.

According to Lindsey Chastain, founder and CEO of The Waddle and Cluck, these natural sweeteners are the liquid gold that bitter grapefruit craves. “The sweet syrup interacts with the fruit’s juices to form a balanced, pleasant sweet-tart combo,” she says. Start by drizzling the fruit with a teaspoon of honey or agave, and add a little bit more if needed.

3. Caramelize the fruit.

A fan of crème brûlée? If so, you’ll love grapefruit brulée, which is made by dusting half a grapefruit with sugar and caramelizing it in the broiler. The end result is a browned, sugary top that balances the slightly warm and juicy fruit. Try this Grapefruit Brulée recipe from the Fresh Tastes food blog, which cooks in less than 10 minutes.

4. Mix the fruit into a salad.

Fruit salad isn’t just a summer BBQ staple. This Winter Fruit Salad recipe from combines in-season grapefruit with sweet tropical fruits like kiwi and pineapple. Doing this tames the sourness of the grapefruit and amplifies your salad with a broader range of nutrients.

5. Add a dollop of dairy to the fruit.

This tip from calls for combining grapefruit slices with a little bit of yogurt or cottage cheese. The creaminess from the dairy helps mellow out the acidity of the grapefruit. Bonus: Add a spoonful of granola for a more complete fruit and yogurt bowl.

For more ways to enjoy and use grapefruit, read these stories below!

Remember the Grapefruit Diet? Top Doc’s Easy New Twist Is Helping Women Over 50 Lose 9 lbs in 7 Days — Effortlessly

3 Ways to Flatten Your Belly With Grapefruit Juice

The Astonishing Healing Power Of Citrus Rinds, Zest & Pith Is Due to Hesperidin

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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