January 26, 2014

Candied Pink Grapefruit Peel

I love pink grapefruit to eat and I love the scent of it, too! I had gotten some delicious grapefruit the other day and remembered a recipe my mother used to make for holidays. I had a long computer project to work on, so I decided to multi-task and made some candied grapefruit peel since it’s pretty much a hands-off project.

One of the main tips about making this recipe is making absolutely certain that when you’re peeling the grapefruit (or oranges) that you don’t get any of the inner white pith along with the rind. The pith makes it incredibly bitter. To alleviate the possibility of getting a lot of pith, I use a parer to take the skin off the fruit.

I have had a ceramic-bladed peeler from Williams-Sonoma, but it broke while I was peeling the grapefruit. Luckily, the Chefs had given me an industrial commercial grade peeler and I continued with that.

Add the peel to a heavy bottomed pan and cover with water. The other critical tip to this recipe is bringing the grapefruit rind to a boil, straining the peel, dumping the water, recovering with cold water and repeating this four times. The repeated boiling in fresh water helps rid the peel of any bitterness.

After the fourth boil, drain again and reserve the peel in the strainer. Add equal parts sugar and water, about two cups of each to each fruit you use. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the peel and boil gently until the peel turns translucent. The recipes I reviewed suggested anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours. I chose to boil it for about an hour. You will notice the syrup getting thicker as the peel becomes more translucent.

Strain the peel and reserve the liquid for later use as a simple syrup in cocktails. Let the peel cool for a few minutes, and add about a half a cup of sugar to a ziplock bag and then add the peel.

Shake until the peel is coated with the sugar. Lay the peel out on a rack to finish drying and dump the extra sugar (or save it for baking). Store the peel in a cool, dry place and it will last for a few weeks.

I realized after everything that I should have cut the peel into smaller pieces, or strips, before I cooked it, but I cut it into smaller pieces after I’d sugared it, and it was fine.

A lot of people think of candied peel as a holiday treat, but you can use it for a lot of things – a garnish on a cocktail, decoration on a cake or cupcake, snacking and more. Chef Cat cut the peel very finely and put it on top of orange cupcakes and it was fabulous! Best part is that it’s sort of a grown-up treat, since children might not like the tartness and slight bitterness. It’s also a great way to use the rinds you generally toss.


  1. I would find it hard not to eat that all in one day. Now I'd like to know what kind of cocktail you make with the syrup.

    1. Here are a couple of cocktail recipe links:
      http://ask.metafilter.com/173458/Ideas-for-grapefruitflavoured-syrup ( i swear, this wasn't me!)

  2. what a treat + have some grapefruit + oranges + will go now. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  3. grapefruits are one of my favorite thing in the winter (smell and taste, just like you) so I typically have them on weekend mornings. I also love candied peel but never really thought about making it myself -I've just been putting the peels down the garbage disposal (what a waste!) I'll definitely have to try this.

  4. When your deadlines are over, I'd love to know the brand of the peeler the Chefs loaned you!

  5. Lovely! I love my grapefruits come winter. What a wonderful way to enjoy those beautiful peels.


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