While still ripe on the tree, a grapefruit retains its quality for months. Once you bring a grapefruit home, however, its thick skin and the wax that most producers apply after harvesting keep it fresh for a week at room temperature and up to three weeks in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Cut grapefruit, whether just cut in half or with the sections removed, goes bad sooner than the whole, uncut fruit. Always store cut grapefruit in the refrigerator, and look for signs of spoilage after three to four days.
There are no guarantees of freshness, and knowing the signs of spoilage helps to keep you safe from the harmful bacteria and molds that eventually attack all perishable foods.
Reduce the changes of your grapefruit becoming infected with bacteria by washing the whole fruit thoroughly right before cutting it.
Both whole and cut grapefruit will show signs that the fruit is past its prime and may be infected with potentially harmful bacteria. Look for these indications hat the grapefruit has gone bad and discard the fruit:
- A slimy film on the surface of cut grapefruit or the skin of a whole grapefruit
- Soft or mushy cut fruit
- Small white specks on the inner or outer surfaces of the grapefruit
- Soft spots or brownish bruises on the outer surface of a whole grapefruit
- Black or green fuzzy mold on whole or cut fruit.
If your grapefruit is on the last few days of its shelf life, you have options besides cutting it into segments for breakfast:
- Make a grapefruit salad dressing.
- Chop the grapefruit, add sugar to taste and use the resulting sauce as a topping for waffles or yogurt.
- Puree the grapefruit for fruit smoothies or grapefruit juice.
- Freeze pureed grapefruit plus juice into frozen pops.
Frozen grapefruit stays good indefinitely, although it will lose quality and soften over time. To freeze the citrus, cut it into segments and remove the membranes. Make a simple syrup by boiling 2 cups of water for each 1 cup of sugar, and pour it over the segments. Store the grapefruit in an airtight container.