26 March 2012
candied grapefruit peels.
I don't often post recipes in this space--there are so many others who do it well, and more innovatively. And this method may be old news to many of you--but for me it was an eye-opener in the realm of preserving and enjoying fresh food, so I thought I'd share. These are so easy to make, and they strike the perfect balance (for me) between sweet and bitter. They are quite similar to those gooey "fruit" wedges that you find in the gas station candy aisle, but soooo much better, somehow. Like the difference between storebought and homemade marshmallows--once you've tried the real thing, the imitation will never satisfy again.
Candied Grapefruit Peels. (method adapted from Fine Cooking magazine--our fave)
1) Start with two grapefruit. Cut each into eigths, lengthwise, then use a sharp paring knife to remove the peel and some of the pith (white part) from each section. (Go ahead and finish peeling the grapefruit sections as you go along, putting them into a bowl for snacking or salad later on. I love salad greens topped with grapefruit, blueberries, goat cheese, and pecans... but that's another story.)
2) Cut each peel section into long strips, about 1/4 inch wide.
3) Place peels into a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Put the pot on the stove and bring the water to boiling, then boil for 5 minutes. Drain water and repeat twice, each time with new water, for a total of three blanchings.
4) Set peels aside and mix 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1 cup of water in your saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, then bring mixture to a boil. Add peels and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue simmering about 45 minutes, until peels are translucent and liquid has reduced significantly.
5) Drain the peels, saving the syrup for another use (grapefruit cocktails, anyone?). Place them in a bowl with about a cup more of sugar and toss until coated. Spread peels on a rack to dry for at least 5 hours before storing them in an airtight container.
6) Remember to take a picture of the pretty finished peels before you're down to the last three. (this is the step I skipped--oops.)
A few other notes:
--I've done this twice now, and the second time I cut the strips wider--closer to 1/2". But the narrower, 1/4" width I did the first time worked out better, so I'd recommend sticking to that.
--You could do this with any citrus peel--but I'd do them individually (i.e., don't mix lemon and grapefruit peel in the same batch) because different fruits will take different amounts of time to reach translucency in the candying step (#4).
--My kids didn't go for these--even though at least one is a grapefruit lover, and the other is a sugar lover. I think kids' tongues have more finely tuned sensors for bitterness. It worked to my benefit, of course, but thought I'd mention as an fyi.