A few months ago, I bought a satchel of organic grapefruits. When I tried one a day or two later, I realized they were unbearably sour (serves me right for buying them out of season). They sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks, until I finally decided it was time to stage an intervention.
I’d made candied orange peels before with mixed results: one time they came out perfect, and another time they were too bitter to eat. So, I realized that I needed to choose my method carefully. I read several recipes, including smitten kitchen’s candied grapefruit peel fail. I decided upon a food network recipe, which had received a couple of good reviews and called for boiling the water and draining it 4 times, which may seem excessive, but really helps take the bitterness out of the peels. I made one substantial change – I remembered that for my successful candied orange peels, the recipe had called for leaving the fruit on the peel during the boiling and draining process. I’m happy to say that this recipe was a success! The peels are delicious – sweet and juicy, and not bitter at all.
A happy byproduct of making the peels is grapefruit syrup, which can be used for a number of things, including soaking into cakes, stirring into yogurt, or adding to vodka to make grapefruit liquor. I chose to add the syrup to sparkling water to make grapefruit soda, and it was yummy!
I recommend choosing organic grapefruits for this recipe, as you will be eating the peel, which often receives most of the pesticide exposure in conventional fruit. Also, feel free to switch up this recipe and use oranges (blood oranges would be pretty!), lemons, limes, kumquat, etc. – the sky’s the limit! I didn’t cover my peels in chocolate this time, but that is certainly a viable option, and dark chocolate pairs especially well with the orange peels. Enjoy!
RECIPE: CANDIED GRAPEFRUIT PEELS
6 organic grapefruits
4 cups of sugar
Water, to cover the peels
- Cut each grapefruit in half and, leaving the fruit on, slice the grapefruit thinly (¼– ½ inch wide).
- Put the peels in a large nonreactive pot, and add enough water to cover the peels by one inch.
- Bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat, and strain.
- Add the peels back to the pot, cover with fresh water, and repeat this process again three times.
- After the fourth boil, remove any remaining fruit and pith from the peels, and return the drained peels to the pot and add the sugar and enough water to cover the peels by one inch.
- Simmer for 2-3 hours, until the syrup is somewhat thickened.
- Remove the peels and allow them to drain on a wire rack (or you could place them on a lined baking sheet in a warm oven to help evaporate the water).
- Roll the peels in granulated sugar, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (I have found that they stay good for months in the fridge).
- Gift these to a friend, chop them up and add to baked goods, or just enjoy them as is!