Why Grapefruit Smell Like Florida To Me

February 23, 2012 6 Comments

Why Grapefruit Smell Like Florida To Me

I was walking by the kitchen counter yesterday and caught a whiff of something that grabbed my attention real fast. I looked over and there was this gorgeous ripe grapefruit sitting there. I went over, picked it up, brought it to my nose and gave it a big sniff. I was instantly transported like some magic carpet ride back to my youth when we visited my grandparents in Florida.

Wow, what an intense sensation! I asked my wife to give it a smell and asked her what she thought. “Smells like a nice ripe grapefruit,” she replied. I repeated this act with both my kids and they gave the same reply and looked at me with that look I often get when talking to them about food. I wondered why they didn’t have the same reaction I did but then none of them had the same experiences I did growing up in the 60’s.

When I was my about girls’ age we used to drive down to Florida around Easter to visit my grandparents. They lived just outside of Miami, oh I wish I could remember what town they were in, and we would stay in Miami Beach at one of those tacky motels off Ocean Avenue.  I think one of the motels was called Safari and or maybe The Thunderbird.

Back at my grandparents, there were coconut trees, a couple of banana trees that grew little finger bananas, a few orange trees and then a couple of grapefruit trees that gave off the most wonderful fragrance. To this day when I pick up a ripe grapefruit I immediately go right back to my grandparent’s backyard.

Some mornings when visiting, my grandfather would take me out back and help me pick a few grapefruit and a bunch of oranges for breakfast. He would hold me up so I could pluck one off the lower branches.

Me checking out Grandpa's very young orange tree

We would take them into the kitchen where he would squeeze the juice from the oranges with one of those old fashion non-electric metal orange juice presses. He took his time and was meticulous about getting every last drop of juice from the pulp.

For the grapefruit, he had a special grapefruit knife that was curved to separate the flesh from the skin. The kitchen would fill up with an aroma of fresh oranges and grapefruit that still lingers with me to this day.  I’d help my grandmother make pancakes or eggs and we would sit down to a big breakfast but not until I devoured my half of grapefruit and drank a big glass of fresh OJ.

And I can share this memory with all of you. Next time you are in the supermarket, head on over to the fresh produce section, pick up a nice ripe ruby red grapefruit and give it a smell. If it is really fresh, you too can share my childhood memory back in Florida at my grandparent’s backyard.

Isn’t it great how food works this way?

Why Grapefruit Smell Like Florida To Me
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Last modified on Thu 31 July 2014 11:23 am

Filed in: Fruits

Comments (6)

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  1. LADawg says:

    To me a ripe ruby red grown in the Texas valley is head and shoulders better than any grapefruit grown in either Florida or California. Ever had one?
    When we lived in Dallas you could find pickup trucks along the side of the road selling tree ripened ruby reds that they had brought up from the Valley. Man were these good…………..

    Hi LADawg, I may have. They don’t always tell you where the grapefruits are from in our market and there is nothing like picking one off the tree or just picked. – RG

  2. JoAnn Hornyak says:

    Hi RG,
    It is maple sugar time here in New England and it is a great year. The sugar house in town is open on weekends to watch the process. My friend owns 100 acres he taps. I thought I would have a Maple themed dinner … Any ideas for entrees?
    JoAnn

    Hi JoAnn,
    Sounds like a great time of year. How about pork with a maple glaze or prepare a marinade for meat or chicken with maple syrup? I might even try adding a little maple syrup to a braise like short ribs or pork shoulder. – RG

  3. kitchen voyage says:

    For all the citrus fruits for me this this has the most peculiar flavour, a citric bitterness with an acid taste mix perfectly with the sweetness. Even though Vitamin C content is less than oranges a fresh juice of pink fruit made it with 2 pieces is enough to cover your vitamin c daily intake and has only 27kcal per 100g, so is great to add to any diet

  4. Jenni says:

    What a beautiful food memory. Thanks for sharing it with us, RG. Smells trigger such immediate and powerful associations, even if we haven’t smelled them in forever.

  5. Lee says:

    Food smells – for me it’s lamb roast. We had Sunday dinner at my grandmothers when I was a child – lamb roast was frequently on the menu. I stepped into my in-laws house once and saw my grandmothers kitchen – she had a lamb roast cooking and the smell brought me back to Gram’s kitchen!

  6. Scapp says:

    I bet your grandparents lived in Hialeah, that’s where my grandparents had a house too.

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