Wanna know what's great about Texas? Grapefruit. This in addition to various styles of barbecue, fajitas, elotes, paletas, a wide selection of tacos, jalapeno-studded sausages and beanless chili, all of which are great in their own right. But we talk about brisket and skirt steak all the time, and heaping praise on Tex-Mex is just throwing more lard in the beans. On the other hand, Texas grapefruit -- at the height of citrus season -- needs far more celebration.
There's no better breakfast than a cup of hot tea or coffee and half a grapefruit. Sure, the ritual of cleaving the fruit in half and tracing each segment with a paring knife can be tedious, but it only takes a few minutes -- the time it takes to steep or brew your morning beverage.
Sprinkle a little sugar over the half if you like, but Texas grapefruit doesn't need it. Lately, I've been sticking my weathered, jagged-edged spoon into fruits so sweet they tasted like oranges. If you're feeling chef-y, bring out the blowtorch and hit a lightly sugar-dusted surface with an azure blue flame for a quick grapefruit brûlée.
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You know what else is awesome about grapefruit? They're consistent. Barring the occasional mealy dud or fruit that's past its prime, a Texas grapefruit, purchased in Texas during grapefruit season, rocks far more often than it doesn't. Think of those poor, suffering tomato enthusiasts, waking up at daybreak to be first to market, fondling fruit after fruit in search of the best tomato, only to be disappointed time and time again.
There's none of that in grapefruit-town. If it feels heavy you're good to go. Avoid bruised and squashed specimens, and probability is on your side. Texas Grapefruit season runs from October to May, but it peaks right about now in late December. That means grapefruits are mind-bendingly good this very second, and they'll stay that way well into February. Tomatoes peak in June before the summer heat beats down, and they're lackluster for the rest of the year.
Not grapefruits. Right now, grapefruit segments are so large you can fish them out of their peels with a garden trowel. Right now, grapefruits are so juicy, donning protective eyewear while slicing is highly recommended. Right now, grapefruits boast a rich and rosy hue, as if they're blushing because you barged in unannounced with your knife. Right now, grapefruits are truly seductive.
So get to your favorite market or grocery store (they're everywhere) and buy as many as you think you can handle, and then a few more. When summer rolls around and you're pawing your way through a bin of cottony, pale tomatoes, you'll remember these as high times.