Making your own candied grapefruit peel will produce a candy more stunning then you can imagine. I find them irresistible to snack on, although they have other uses as well. They can be chopped and added to scones, muffins and dessert recipes. Dipping them in chocolate creates a fine delicacy. Once candied, they will last for months. If you are a grapefruit fan you will find the sweet bitter flavor punch they pack addictive.
They’re easy to make but do take time, most of which is non-active. I just made a larger batch than I thought I was making out of only four grapefruits. Gift giving comes to mind. Here’s what you do:
4 grapefruits (I prefer Ruby Red)
4 cups granulated sugar, divided
Cut grapefruit in half. Cut in half again so that you have four quarters. With a small sharp knife cut the fruit away from the pith. Collect the fruit in a bowl for another use. The spongy white pith should remain with the peel.
Cut the peel on an angle into ½-inch slices. Collect these in a large non-reactive (no non-enameled aluminum, cast iron, or copper) pot. Repeat with the other grapefruits.
Add water to cover the peels by approximately 1 inch (the peels will float – press them down lightly with a spoon to estimate the water level). Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and immediately drain the peels in a colander.
Return the drained peels to the pot, cover with water again and bring to a boil. Drain the peels again. Repeat this process two more times (four times total).These changes of water remove some of the bitterness from the pith and soften the peels.
After you have brought the peels to a boil four times. cover them once more with water, this time just to cover. Add 3 cups of sugar. Over medium high heat bring them to a simmer (not a boil) and mix to dissolve sugar. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
Prepare a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly oil the rack with a vegetable or nut oil. Gently lift each peel out of the syrup with tongs and onto the rack. Any leftover syrup is very delicious and can be saved for another use. Let the peels drain and dry out overnight. They will still be sticky.
Place a cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl and roll peels in the sugar, a few at a time. Cover completely, but shake off excess. The sugared peels can be stored in an airtight container for at least three months. What could be more tempting than a clear glass candy jar full of candied grapefruit peels?
Photos by Michael Kirigin