As beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat, the Ray Ruby Grapefruit is a favorite among the sweeter varieties of red grapefruit and has a lot to offer as a backyard growing staple and a delicious citrus treat.
Read on to learn all you need to know about the Ray Ruby Grapefruit, how to care for it, how to eat it, and so much more.
History of the Ray Ruby Grapefruit
The Ray Ruby Grapefruit has been a popular grapefruit variety since its public release, which can be dated back to 1986. However, it was roughly 16 years prior to its broader release that the Ray Ruby variety was first discovered; it is a known mutation of a Ruby Red Grapefruit, discovered in a Ruby Red Grapefruit grove in the region of Weslaco, TX by a man named Robert Ray. Hence, in part, the name Ray Ruby Grapefruit! It has since become a widely-loved grapefruit variety, particularly in Florida and other southern growing regions, as it is easy to grow and typically produces a wonderful crop.
Characteristics of the Ray Ruby Grapefruit
Similar to the Ruby Red Grapefruit from which it originated, the Ray Ruby Grapefruit is characterized by several classic grapefruit qualities. It has a very classic sort of citrusy flesh in texture and color, with inner shades ranging from pink to light red. But it is the gradient of the grapefruit segments themselves, with colors turning from these lighter hues to a dark shade near the edges, that sets the Ray Ruby apart from its originator, the Ruby Red, and gives it that “ray” appearance.
The Ray Ruby Grapefruit’s peel also has a distinguished pink blush, but is set apart from many other types of grapefruits by its thickness, being notably thicker than that of many other grapefruits.
In terms of taste, the Ray Ruby variety does have the well widely noted, assertive grapefruit flavor, with that tangy quality that sets grapefruit apart from sweeter varieties of citrus. However, because it is a red variety of grapefruit, the Ray Ruby has lower acidity levels than a white or fully pink grapefruit might, and is therefore on the sweeter side of what you will find amongst the spectrum of grapefruits. The Ray Ruby’s flesh is quite juicy as well, particularly when it reaches optimal ripeness.
Ray Ruby Grapefruit Specific
Ray Ruby Grapefruit can be enjoyed in a plethora of different ways! Like many grapefruit varieties, the Ray Ruby does excellently simply as a raw snack, cut into wedges or removed from the peel and separated into segments. Many folks also enjoy this type of grapefruit sprinkled with a bit of raw cane sugar or salt to help balance the tartness that is classic to this citrus—just be sure not to overdo it with the sugar, since the Ray Ruby is already sweeter to begin with than a lot of grapefruit varieties!
Because its flavor profile tends to be more balanced and less overall bitter than other grapefruits or as sweet as other citruses, Ray Ruby Grapefruit also makes a wonderful snack for little ones who are beginning to enjoy solid foods and are in a season of expanding their palettes when it comes to fruit; it has the added bonus as well of helping to regulate digestive systems, which can be a great help for kiddos who are struggling with constipation or other digestion irregularities. Just be sure to remove the skin and membrane of the grapefruit before serving to young eaters in order to avoid choking hazards!
In addition to these raw snacking options, Ray Ruby Grapefruit can also be enjoyed in many dishes, such as a cold summer fruit salad, in a spritzer or martini, as a sorbet base, or even in baked delicacies such as bars and cakes! Any recipe that you might enjoy a grapefruit flavor in, the Ray Ruby makes for a great candidate.
Like all grapefruits, the Ray Ruby Grapefruit packs a powerhouse of health benefits that make them a go-to staple in many people’s daily diet. It is both low in calories and quite high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber; as just one example, one serving of grapefruit packs in more than half the recommended daily intake value of Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and protects the body overall from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign bodies.
In addition, the presence of antioxidants—including lycopene and beta-carotene, the same factors that help give tomatoes their red hue—makes the grapefruit a great aid in reducing overall body inflammation by protecting cells from harmful free radicals throughout the body. This is helpful in a number of ways, as it can lower the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other symptoms of chronic inflammation; for some folks, this can lead to more balanced weight, higher levels of energy, and other fantastic upticks in health.
Other health benefits of eating grapefruit include aid with digestion due to the high fiber content, reduction of insulin resistance—which can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes—and reduction of calcium oxalate kidney stones due to the citric acidity of the Ray Ruby and other varieties of grapefruit.
Growing At Home
Ray Ruby Grapefruit is a fantastic citrus for growing at home! At full maturity, the Ray Ruby tree reaches up to a height of about 12 to 14 feet, and spans in width to roughly 8 to 10 feet, making it quite the manageable fruit tree for backyard home gardeners.
Best grown in planting zones 8A, 8B, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, the Ray Ruby Grapefruit is cold hardy down to as low as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and is a self-fertile pollinator, meaning you can plant just one Ray Ruby tree and still expect to have a full and viable harvest. However, if you want to plant other trees around your Ray Ruby Grapefruit, simply ensure that you give your tree the necessary 8 to 10 feet of space to flourish, and plant it in partial to full sunlight for optimal growth and health.
Additionally, the Ray Ruby Grapefruit tree thrives best in soil with low acidity and plenty of fertilization; it also has low water needs, making it an easy tree to maintain.
Where To Buy The Ray Ruby Grapefruit
In addition to the fruit itself being available at some grocers and supermarkets—particularly in the state of Florida, where this grapefruit variety is quite popular—Ray Ruby Grapefruit trees can also be grown from seed or transferred from saplings, depending on where you purchase them.
It is always recommended to first support your local nurseries, garden centers, and farms or farmer’s markets when searching for a Ray Ruby Grapefruit seed or sapling to plant; however, if you are in need of purchasing yours online, there are a few reliable resources you can use to source your seeds and saplings.
One of the best is Nature Hills, a well-known brand that often has Ray Ruby seeds in stock. You can also search on Amazon.com for Ray Ruby Grapefruit seeds, but be sure to do your research to ensure you are purchasing from a reputable seller before moving forward; after all, you will not know if you have acquired legitimate Ray Ruby Grapefruit seeds until your tree has grown!
Wrapping Up the Ray Ruby Grapefruit
Excited to grow and enjoy a Ray Ruby Grapefruit tree in your own backyard? Want to learn more about grapefruits? Next, visit our grapefruit trees page to discover information on planting, growing, caring, cooking, and more!
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of all things nature, gardening and the big outdoors.
A Midwest girl who’s been in the garden since she could first hold a hand trowel, Renee’s love of growing things has bloomed into a passion for healthy living, holistic lifestyle, and knowing where our food comes from.
Now a mother and maturing gardener herself, Renee is passionate about channeling everything she knows and continues to learn about gardening into lessons for her son and others. Her excitement for sharing this knowledge is only superseded by her excitement about being able to finally grow her own citrus plants in pots.
Renee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org