Friday, March 11, 2011

Golden: Candied Grapefruit Peels

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Candied Grapefruit Peel is a great way to use something which would otherwise be wasted: the grapefruit rind. I know a choice few people who use the zest of a grapefruit in recipes instead of lemon or orange zest, but for me the wonderful grapefruit essence is often (depending on the recipe) overwhelmed by its bitterness.

When I decided to attack the pile of grapefruits Nathanael and I had harvested from a tree in our apartment complex, and chose to make Grapefruit Cranberry Marmalade, I decided I would use only half the peel in the grapefruit, and be brave and experiment with candying the rest. I looked around for a recipe I liked, and surprisingly enough settled on the bookshelf instead of the internet.

The recipe I will share with you is from The Shared Table by Don Pintabona, a cookbook I bought on impulse because it was on sale, looked neat and has an amazing variety of recipes both homey and gourmet, from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Don's restaurant in New York. To tell you the truth, I haven't tried any of the other recipes yet, but I have drooled over a number of them.

After testing out this recipe candied citrus peel recipe I have also tried a few others (from the internet), and even though the ratio of water to sugar and the heating time are the only basic changes, this is the recipe I am happiest with, so I am going to stick to it for my citrus candying needs. (You will see other peels on the blog before too long, but lemon is already in my shop.) For that reason, the recipe below is not altered, but I have added a few explanatory comments of my own.
Candied Grapefruit Peel yield ~56 strips
from the Shared Table by Don Pintabona

4 large pink grapefruits, well washed
About 3 cups sugar

1. Cut the top and bottom from each grapefruit, making even cuts so that the grapefruit will sit straight.

 Using a sharp knife, and cutting downward, remove the peel in neat, even strips following the shape of the fruit. Reserve the pulp for another purpose.

2. Leave the strips wide (mine were around a 1/2 inch wide 3 inches long), or cut in half for thinner (~1/4in) strips.


3. Place the strips in cold water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 1 minute. Drain well and repeat the boiling process, always using fresh cold water, 3 more times.
Don't save this water. See how it looks so bright and delicious? As though you could make tea out of it or something? The purpose of all these changes of water is to remove the bitterness from the peel (and also some of the water), so all that you'll find in that beautiful water is bitterness. Don't even bother dirtying a bowl (and spoon) like I did.

4. After the final boil, pat the peel dry. If you have a kitchen scale (I don't), weigh the boiled peel, then combine the weighed peel with an equal amount of sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. (It should be about 1 pound of peel to about 1 pound [2 cups] of sugar). Add enough water (about 1/4 cup) to just cover the bottom of the saucepan.

This will help the sugar melt quickly. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the peel is transparent. Remove fron the heat and drain well. Do save the syrup you drain off. Since it's just liquified sugar, only barely flavored, it's great to stir into iced tea or drizzle over hot cereal.

5. Place the peel in single layers on wire racks to drain and dry for at least 3 hours, or up to 8 hours.

6. Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a large glass jar. Add the dried peel, seal, and toss until all peels are dusted with sugar and no longer sticky. Store well sealed in a cool dry place.

The process does take time, but once the peel is removed you have very little work to do other than waiting. The result is a sweet and tangy natural candy; a scrumptious tea time treat, baking ingredient, or great little gift. Give this recipe a try, or if you want to try out mine, check it out in my etsy shop.


  1. I can't wait to try this! Also, you've got me craving my famous Pamplemouse Cheesecake - am I one of those people you gave a shout out to that zests with grapefruit?

  2. Yes, Lucy, it was you! The grapefruit zest cheesecake wasn't too long as we finished it in the first few days. : )

  3. I make candied orange, and lemon peel for Christmas. I'll have to try the grapefruit! Love grapefruit! Great tutorial, recipe, and post!

  4. Hmmm... very cool idea. I definitely need to put this on my list of things to try. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. That sounds fascinating! I love grapefruit. I'm quite impressed!!


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