How to Make Candied Grapefruit Peels: An Easy, Cheap Gift
Candied grapefruit peels are easy to make and inexpensive and elegant gifts. The peels--which you might have thrown away--with the addition of some sugar, become fancy dessert items and quite "giftable." They are tart (hey, it's grapefruit!) and sweet. The peels are great "as is" or dipped in chocolate (dip them half way or all the way in the chocolate). Making the candied peels involves a few steps, none of which is especially hard. All can be done while you're in the kitchen doing something else. I do recommend drying the peels on a rack, if you have one. The rack will allow more air to circulate around the peels, and they'll dry faster. What do you do with the peels once they're candied? The peels are great served on a fancy plate with your after-dinner coffee or tea. For gifts, put the peels in nice, small glass jars or even in small plastic bags tied with ribbons. Think of the peels as grown up "sour patch" candies. They're good! Enjoy!
Candied Grapefruit Peels -- Makes about 2 small jars worth
2-3 medium grapefruit
2+ cups of sugar, divided
3/4 cup of water
Quarter the grapefruit and remove the rinds from the grapefruit segments. Save the fruit segments to eat later. With a very sharp knife (a ceramic one works very well), cut the grapefruit rinds into small strips that are about 1/4-inch thick. Put the rinds into a saucepan/pot and cover them with a couple of inches of water. Bring the rinds and water to a boil, then let them boil for 3-5 minutes. Drain the rinds, cover them again with water, and repeat the boiling, draining process. You'll need to do this--cover with water, boil, drain--a total of four times. After the fourth and final drain, add 3/4 cup of water back to the pot with the rinds and add one cup of the sugar. Stir the mixture, bring it to a simmer (uncovered), and let the mixture cook at a simmer until the water in the pan is gone and you're left with just the rinds in the pot (you can stir the rinds gently and periodically, if you want). This simmering process will take about an hour, and you'll need to watch the rinds closely as the water evaporates at the end. The rinds will look somewhat translucent and be quite sticky. Stop the cooking when the water is gone and before the rinds burn!
Put a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle it with a cup of sugar. Put the rinds from the pot in the sugar on the parchment. Using your clean hands, toss the peels in the sugar to coat them with the sugar. It's best to let the rinds dry on the parchment for at least eight hours, then place the rinds on a rack (put the parchment they were on underneath the rack) to continue drying further. You can dust/toss the rinds with a little more sugar, if you'd like. The rinds may be a little sticky but shouldn't be syrupy (if they are, toss them in a little more sugar). Put the rinds in nice jars or store them in plastic bags. The rinds will keep indefinitely.