Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Candied Grapefruit Peel
Come January, the only healthy-looking produce at the store is grapefruit, it seems! Little gems, delicious peeled or eaten with a spoon, I always hate to throw away the beautiful peels.
Sunday afternoon I found myself with 2 sleeping children, a husband on hand to tackle anything that might arise, and a pile of grapefruits. The fruit went into a bowl for dinner that night, and I started work on Smitten Kitchen's recommendations from LAST January.
In a nutshell, you parboil grapefruit peel quarters 4 times, scrape the pith off and julienne, then boil 2 hours in a simple syrup. Drain and let dry, then toss in sugar. For far more detailed instructions, see below! (The camera didn't come out until later in the game, sorry!)
Wash your grapefruit, and cut into quarters. Peel away the fruit and set it aside.
Put your peels in a pan, and cover with water to an inch over the peels. Now, these guys FLOAT, so push them down and make sure you have an ample inch on top.
Bring to a boil over high heat, boil for 30 seconds, and drain into a colander. If you can, do a quick rinse and scrub of your pan, put the peels back in and add more water to an inch above. Boil again. Keep doing this until you have boiled them 4 times, at least. I've seen 7 recommended, but 4 seemed to be plenty.
After the last drain, let them cool enough to handle comfortably and start laying those quarter pieces on a cutting board and using a teaspoon to gently scrape as much pith as possible off. It's easy to tear, so be careful!
One you're cleaned of pith, start cutting into very narrow strips. They don't need to be match-stick sized, but pinky is definitely too wide. The narrower they are, the more sugar-to-grapefruit ratio you have.
Now make sure that your pan is cleaned of all the bitter oils clinging to the sides (that's why we boiled- to get all those bitter oils out) and put the peel strips back in. Cover with water again, measuring how much water it takes. Add an equal amount of sugar as water (I used 5 cups water and 5 cups sugar for 4 large grapefruits), and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours stirring occasionally. The syrup will get darker and thicker, and the grapefruit peels will be translucent. (I actually boiled covered 2 hours, and an extra hour after that uncovered. That seemed to work, too.)
Drain into a colander one last time (I set my colander over a bowl to save the syrup...why? I don't know.) and then spread the pieces over a wire cooling rack with tin foil or a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips. Let dry until no longer sticky (I left mine overnight).
With 1 cup sugar in a bowl, start putting in handfuls and swirl around to break up and coat with sugar. Sift them out with your fingers, and throw in another handful.