February is National Grapefruit Month, and I suggest celebrating with a smoothie, a salad or a granita.

With its tart-sweet flavor, grapefruit is a fantastic fruit, packed with vitamin C.

At its peak of freshness in winter, grapefruit, like other citrus, can help kick colds and the flu faster.

It’s also a low-calorie juice — when sugar’s not added — which is helping me get my diet back on track.

Start the day with a grapefruit smoothie for an extra burst of energy.

Grapefruit also is great in salads or salad dressings. Adding grapefruit pieces and a splash of grapefruit juice really kicks up the flavor of grilled chicken and mixed greens.

It also is good for dessert. One of my favorite restaurants in Florida served a grapefruit granita, which I learned to replicate at home.

So grab some grapefruit and get cooking.

Ruby Smoothie

1 cup grapefruit juice

1 cup pineapple chunks (if canned, drain first)

½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt

Put all ingredients into a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until thoroughly combined.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: oceanspray.com

Grapefruit Granita

2 cups pink grapefruit juice

¼ cup sugar

4 mint leaves

4 fresh pink grapefruit slices

In a saucepan, combine grapefruit juice and sugar. Bruise mint leaves between fingers and add to saucepan. Bring mixture to just boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Remove mint leaves.

Pour grapefruit mixture into ice cube trays; freeze. Just before serving, place a single layer of frozen cubes in food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse 12 times or until no large chunks of ice remain.

Spoon granita into stemmed glasses. Garnish with grapefruit slice. Repeat with remaining cubes. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

M. Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact her at chaefner@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7551.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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