grapfruit peel

We love to discover ways to extend the citrus season even though our variety of trees means we can start picking fruit (Satsumas) in late October followed by the navels reaching their peak around Christmas, and juice oranges like the Hamlins and Parson Browns, with of course the grapefruit, Meyer lemons and Key limes maturing throughout the winter months. Finally we wrap up our citrus season with the Valencias in May.

Whew, that’s about seven months of picking fresh fruit. I do not know of any other variety of fruit that has such a long season. But I digress. Candied grapefruit rind is the subject and it is amazing how quick and easy it is to prepare. Plus it keeps well in sealed tins, extending the enjoyment of this fruit for weeks. You can make as much or as little as you want, starting with one good-sized grapefruit. Here’s how to make it:

Candied grapefruit rind

Fresh grapefruits or oranges, scrub rind well
3/4 cup sugar for each grapefruit rind or two orange rinds
3/4 cup water for each grapefruit rind or two orange rinds
Additional sugar for tossing the candied rinds

Begin by peeling the fruits. Place the fruits on a cutting board with the stem side down. You will slice the rind off in “panels” around the edge of the fruit, getting as wide a slice of the peel in as possible. With a large, sharp knife, slice down the sides of the fruit, going around the sides, leaving a small circle at the top and bottom. Don’t worry about just getting the colored part of the rind. Slice the whole thing down to the flesh of the fruit, white pith and all. Slice off and discard the top and bottom circles. (Or add them to the compost pile.)

Then slice the panels into slivers about a quarter inch wide. Fill a large sauce pan about two-thirds full of cold water. Add the peel and bring to a boil. Drain and repeat two more times for the grapefruit peels, using cold water each time. This will help to eliminate some of the bitterness of the grapefruit peels. For orange peel, just boil one time. Drain the peels well and put 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water for each grapefruit or two oranges in a saucepan. Stir and heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a slow boil. Boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until the peels become transparent.

Remove peels from syrup with a slotted spoon and drain for a minute or two. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and add a cup or two of sugar. Adding a few at a time, roll the peels in the sugar and then set them aside to dry completely. When dry, they should be quite firm and can be stored in a tighly-covered container in a cool dry place. You might even want to save the syrup to use in creative ways — fruit or salad dressings, marinades — well you get the idea.