The tart-sweet fruit is having a major renaissance. Here’s how to know which variety to buy.

By Stacey Ballis
Updated January 21, 2020
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My relationship with grapefruit is a bit legendary. When I started studying French in school in second grade, my first favorite word was pamplemousse, the French word for grapefruit, and it remains my favorite word in French to this day. I was never the kid who preferred oranges’ simple sweetness. I always loved the razor’s edge of sweet and bitter that grapefruits provided. As an adult, I am addicted to La Croix and Perrier grapefruit sparkling waters, and houseguests who come to stay get little jars of grapefruit gummy bears in their rooms.

Lucky for me, grapefruit is having a serious renaissance right now, and while you used to go the store and be faced with only a decision of white or pink, there are now all sorts of varieties available. A recent trip to a store near me had five different grapefruit options in the produce department. Here are some of the grapefruits you might want to keep an eye out for, since we are in the height of citrus season, and all can be sourced at Melissa’s Produce for shipping if you can’t find them near you. Once you get them home, enjoy them by the slice, or try one of our favorite grapefruit recipes.

Credit: Getty Images/Foodcollection

Getty Images/Foodcollection

White Grapefruit

This was probably everyone’s gateway grapefruit and tends to be the tartest of the bunch. The skin is pale yellow, and the flesh is white with a hint of yellow and some serious bitter with the sweet. They are great for halving and brulèeing for breakfast, the tart flesh balancing the sweet of the caramelized sugar.

Credit: Richard Villalonundefined undefined/Getty Images

Richard Villalonundefined undefined/Getty Images

Pink or Ruby Red Grapefruit

These rosy-fleshed beauties are ideal for eating out of hand or juicing. The skin is deep yellow blushed with pink, and the fruit can range from pale pink to deep rose. They are the most widely available grapefruit right now, and my go-to for day to day.

Melogold

These are the sweetest grapefruits, so my favorite for snacking or desserts. They can be hard to find, but if you spot them, don’t pass them by. They are larger than standard grapefruits, with a skin that ranges from pale green to deep lime green and the flesh is a range of yellow from pale to deep. They have minimal seeds, and a lovely sweet flavor and slightly firm texture, with a really nice popping sensation when you eat them.

Cocktail

These small bright green beauties are about the size of a navel orange and pack a wallop of flavor. They have a ton of seeds, making them a bit harder for snacking, but the juice is really sweet and delicious, hence the cocktail moniker. A great fruit to experiment with for drinks.

Credit: PicturePartners/Getty Images

PicturePartners/Getty Images

Pomelo (or Pummelo)

The largest of all the grapefruit varieties, you can often find these at Asian markets. About the size of a small melon, with very thick peel, the skin is usually pale green with yellow blush, and the flesh is pale yellow to pale pink, with a very firm almost crispy texture. It is great for cooking or salads or anyplace you want grapefruit and need something that holds up.

Credit: PicturePartners/Getty Images

PicturePartners/Getty Images

Oro Blanco

This varietal is about the size of a standard grapefruit, with yellowish-green skin and a pale white flesh. It is similar to white grapefruit in sweet-tart balance, and the peel is only slightly thicker than standard grapefruits. It is good for eating out of hand or for breakfast.

Valentine Pummel

This is a super-special variety, which was developed by crossing pomelo with mandarin and blood orange for a bright yellow-skinned fruit with deeply red-striated flesh similar to a blood orange. Usually harvested in February, with a sweet-tart flavor, they are rare to spot in stores, but can be a really great mid-winter treat if you do find them.