The Secret To Making Grapefruit Taste Less Sour Isn't What You Think

Grapefruit is one of those superfoods that is often praised for all the health benefits that can be reaped by eating it. It is largely affiliated with diet and weight loss. Because grapefruit is low in calories – just 52 per half a grapefruit (Via Healthline) – and supplies 15 vitamins and minerals plus a substantial amount of fiber, it is easy to understand the love affair that both dieters and mere admirers have with this fruit. It is also full of antioxidants and boasts plenty of possible health benefits. And grapefruit has come a long way, baby. While it is still popular to eat at breakfast, we throw it in salads and salsas, mix it in coffee, grill it, brulee it, and the list goes on.

But not all tongues are created equal, and grapefruit may taste more bitter to some people than others, according to a Forbes article. There are 25 unique taste receptors in our mouth that register this taste, from our tongue to our brain. If you are among the population who finds this fruit sour, bitter, and simply repulsive, your eyes might be twitching at the mere thought of eating one. However, what if there was a trick to decrease the bitterness you experience when you eat grapefruit?

Salt can bring out a grapefruit's sweetness

Per the Kitchn, a simple trick can transform the taste of your grapefruit from sour to sweet. The answer is salt. It's kind of funny because it is the absolute opposite of what most of us would think to do, which is to sprinkle it with sugar. However, the key to this taste conundrum does lie in your seasoning cabinet. Lightly dust your grapefruit with salt and it will "neutralize" the perceived bitter taste and instead allow your brain to take in the underlying sweetness that this fruit contains.

According to NPR's The Salt Blog, while this is a seemingly unlikely duo, it works because the ions in the salt block some of those taste receptors that help us experience bitter flavors. The salt may also strengthen its aroma by altering the water chemistry. And as we may know from any wine tasting class or the Encyclopedia Britannica, smell and taste are intimately linked. While salting fruit may sound weird, this concept is not new. During World War I and II, in a quest to get the American population to ration sugar, Morton created ads that read: "Grapefruit Tastes Sweeter With Salt!"  While it is not necessarily a popular practice in the U.S. today, there are plenty of other countries that turn to the salt shaker before the sugar.