My family eats much more grapefruit now that I prepare it in this way. At first, the task seems daunting, but after one or two tries, you will get the hang of it. In fact, it doesn't take me any longer to segment a whole grapefruit or two for my family than it does for me to eat a half grapefruit the traditional way, with a grapefruit spoon. And you can create some beautiful dishes with grapefruit or oranges cut up in this way.
Use a finely serrated knife, as wide as possible, and a cutting board or plate, preferably one with a rim so the juices won't run off.
Cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch off each end of the fruit, just enough to see a nice round of the pulp. Stand upright.
Starting from the top, slice away the peel and pith all the down and around as far as possible. With practice, you will be able to do this all in one slice. Continue slicing away until you are left with only the inner fruit and dividing membranes.
Turn the fruit over and cut away any remaining peel and pith. Do not be concerned that some of the pulp is cut away with the skin. This can't be helped. But the cook can certainly chew on the pieces to get every last drop of goodness! And you can save the skins in order to make candied grapefruit or orange peel, an exotic garnish to many desserts and a great treat when dipped in chocolate, especially for Passover!
Now turn the fruit on its side. For the first segment, cut down as close to the dividing membrane as possible on one side, then the other, until the segment becomes loose. Transfer to a bowl.
Turn the fruit 1/4 turn, place the point of your knife at the outside edge of a segment at the middle of the fruit and as close to the dividing membrane as possible, and gently insert the knife through the entire length of the segment. Then carefully cut away to lift the membrane in as thin a layer as possible. Now the top surface of the next segment is exposed. Return the knife to the center of the fruit and gently cut the segment away from you, almost scraping it, from its lower membrane. Place the segment in the bowl. Continue in this fashion until all the segments have been removed. As you are doing this, remove any seeds, large and small, that remain on the segments. If any segments are particularly wide, you can gently slice them lengthwise if you wish.
Then take the remaining shell of the fruit – central stem and dividing membranes with bits of pulp – and squeeze the juice into the bowl; discard. Pour the juice from the plate or cutting board into the bowl.
Eat immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to a few days.
Jamie Stolper is ShalomBoston.com's Food Editor.