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Seasonal Pantry: Memories of grapefruit and celery

When I was a little girl, my mother and much older half-sister seemed always to be dieting.

For weeks, they would eat nothing but poached chicken and grapefruit, or so it seemed to me.

There were other, stranger diets, and when I look back I realize that the foundation of them all was the cigarette, lit every time they felt a pang of hunger.

But the grapefruit-chicken diet is most vivid in my memory. I think they were allowed a couple of stalks of celery each day, too, and I recall overhearing that both grapefruit and celery required more calories to digest than they contain. Grapefruit burned fat, too, I heard them say.

These beliefs persist today, even though they've been disproved time and again.

But grapefruit, and celery, too, for that matter, are delicious and fit into just about anyone's diet. I love both for their unique flavors and their bright clarity on the palate.

Grapefruit has had my attention lately because, not that long ago, a box of Florida citrus arrived on my porch, a gift from a dear friend who spends winters at her family home in Vero Beach. What a treat it has been.

The California citrus industry suffered a tremendous blow during the December cold snap, though there has been citrus at our farmers markets so far this year.

DeSantis Farms, which attends the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market, sometimes has a green-flesh grapefruit called Sarawak. If you see it, get it. It is one of the most delicious fruits I've tasted, with a delicate flavor and less bitterness than some other varieties of grapefruit.

For more grapefruit recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives, including pork tenderloin with grapefruit, citrus salad and grapefruit mignonette, visit "Eat This Now" at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

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