A good friend just underwent a kidney transplant and the anti-rejection drugs are known to interact with grapefruit, so while he is of course incredibly grateful for his new kidney, he is a little sad that he will literally never have grapefruit again.

I know this is a weird one but I'm curious if anyone knows of good flavor extracts that contain absolutely no grapefruit but provide a credible grapefruit flavor so I can make him something grapefruity, yet medication-safe.

  • 1
    Do you know what part of the grapefruit interacts with the drugs? It'd be easier to isolate something safe if you did... – talon8 Jul 11 '12 at 15:36
  • My understanding is that it is furanocoumarin compounds that cause the drug interactions. Also found in the pomelo. – ghoppe Jul 11 '12 at 16:05
  • It is the furanocoumarin - it makes the drugs enter the body too quickly. – rfusca Jul 11 '12 at 18:02
  • 2
    One day soon maybe? scienceblog.com/48576/… – talon8 Jul 11 '12 at 18:12
  • 1
    General health warning: anyone taking statins (which lower cholesterol) should not eat grapefruit. Statins are amongst the most prescribed drugs in the western world so this warning is fairly general. It's not just people who have had kidney transplants that have to be careful. – No'am Newman Jul 12 '12 at 10:25

Two ideas come to mind:

  1. Artificial grapefruit flavor. Clearly not the most desirable ingredient, but they make it and you can buy it online if you look for it.
  2. Hoppy beer (IPAs) for aroma. Certain hop varieties have a strong grapefruit aroma. You can seek out West Coast-style IPAs for this (Lagunitas IPA or Lil' Sumpin and Ballast Point Sculpin are some that come to mind). Or homebrew your own beer with hops like Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and there are several others. You can google for grapefruit hops.

Otherwise, you might try meyer lemon. It's sweeter than a lemon, but still has some sourness, though not the same as grapefruit.

| improve this answer | |

Most of our sense of taste is in fact smell. How about mild lemon/orange recipes but surround the serving with grapefruit scent? Worth a try on a glass of pink lemonade to start.

Also, Bergamot reminds me of the missing bitter note in grapefruit, is that going to have furanocoumarin too?

| improve this answer | |
  • Good idea but the question of finding a good grapefruit scent remains. As for Bergamot, turns out bergamottin was one of the first furanocoumarins they found. And guess where they first found it? – Joel P. Jul 16 '12 at 21:36
  • in Earl Gray? Real grapefruit essential oil would be allowed as a scent. – Pat Sommer Jul 17 '12 at 23:46
  • Again, real grapefruit is the thing he needs to avoid. I don't know how much furanocoumarin would be in a drop of grapefruit essential oil, but there isn't a chance in the world he's willing to risk his kidney on it being non-zero. – Joel P. Jul 19 '12 at 16:17
  • not in, rather around the dish. – Pat Sommer Jul 21 '12 at 1:14
  • Ah, now I see. I do appreciate the creative thinking but I think it's probably not worth the effort & fear of accidental inhalation/contamination for that slight grapefruit hit. – Joel P. Jul 23 '12 at 15:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.