My Secret Grapefruit Ritual

Actually, it’s not a secret, and it’s not even my ritual. And it works for other citrus fruit as well. Half of it was taught to me as a child, and the other half was *just* suggested to me a couple of weeks ago.

But back up. Let’s talk about why I even have a grapefruit ritual. It’s because of the wax. Many fruits and vegetables, even organic ones, are waxed to preserve them and to improve their appearance before they hit the grocery stores/co-ops. The wax on organic fruits and vegetables is *supposed* to be from carnauba wax or shellac, which *should* be corn-free. Unfortunately, like many other things that *should* be corn free, they aren’t. I’m not totally sure what’s corny in them, but I suspect that the wax is mixed with a solvent like ethanol (from corn) to allow it to coat the fruit better, and then the ethanol evaporates leaving the wax and the corn particles behind.

Anyway, I haven’t ever really managed to peel a waxed apple, cucumber, zuchinni, or other thin-skinned fruit or veggie carefully enough to avoid contaminating the inside with wax residue from the peeling instrument. No matter how carefully I tried to peel them, I would end up getting some wax in my mouth and paying the price. So I just didn’t eat most fruit and many veggies out of season for a long time, opting instead to only eat produce from local farmers whom I could question about their practices. Then I became allergic to pretty much all winter vegetables, and I got hungry enough to get adventurous. With a little advice from some other adventurous corn allergics, I was able to arrive at a way to eat thick-skinned fruit like grapefruit safely.

This method is working for me. Your mileage may vary.

Bathe your fruit, then put a belt on it.


Give your citrus fruit a good washing with a safe detergent. I use baking soda. Then use a potato/vegetable peeler to peel around the middle of the fruit, where you will soon be cutting it in half. You can peel the whole fruit if you like. I don’t bother.

Now cut it in half and carve it up.

I know, I shouldn’t have personified the fruit, because now you’re going to butcher it.


Slice it in half where you cut the “belt.” You’re done with that knife now, because it could still have gotten some residual wax on it. Also carefully set each half of the fruit face-up so that the inside doesn’t contact any surface that might have wax on it. Wash your hands and then use a new, clean paring knife to slice around the membranes between the wedges of the fruit. You’re loosening up the slices to be scooped out.

It’s important that you keep track of what has touched the outside and inside of the fruit, including your own fingers. They have wax on them, therefore do your best to avoid touching the fruit you are going to be eating with them. Actually, with my degree of sensitivity, I avoid touching my mouth or face at all, or eating with my hands, no matter how clean I think they are. These are the things I have to think about.


Once you run your knife along each side of each membrane, run it along the outside rim to loosen the slice away from the skin. Be careful not to touch your now-waxy hands to the inside of the fruit, or to touch the knife to the waxy outside.

Scoop out its insides.

Now carefully pick up the grapefruit and hold it sideways/upside down over the bowl. Use a spoon (I have a serrated spoon because I’m classy like that) to pop each wedge out of the inside of the fruit. Try not to let any of the juice run over the waxy skin of the fruit before hitting the bowl.


This is not the angle I actually hold it at when I’m not taking a picture. Tilt the inside down towards the bowl.

Get your money’s worth: put it on the hat.


I’m sure this thing is called a citrus press, but it looks to me like a bowl that wears a hat, so I call it the hat juicer. It seems to be the best way for me to get the juice out of a citrus fruit without letting my waxy fingers or the outside of the fruit contaminate the juice from the inside. Depending on what fruit you are doing this with, you may not have much left to juice. My grapefruits were very juicy, whereas my navel oranges were not.

You can drink the juice or save it to make something else. I used mine to make a little batch of grapefruit Jello using Great Lakes Grass Fed Bovine Gelatin and Ys Eco Bee Organic Raw Honey (glass jar).

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