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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Candied Grapefruit Peels
low 'n'slow till translucency is the secret:)

As I've mentioned before, my mom found a traditional German holiday bread called stollen in her 1965 edition of The (New) Settlement Cookbook; the 1991 edition I purchased retains the recipe, along with (very) basic instructions for candying orange peel. But my efforts to make citron—which technically is made from, you guessed it, citron though I substitute the far more readily available grapefruit rinds—never looked like the stuff I purchased, let alone was given by the fabulous Fran's boyfriend's mom[1] .

But her gift gave me a goal—parameters, if you like, what good citron should look like, and since the grocery stores no longer seem to carry the gummy citron, complete with acid green bits and brilliant red maraschino cherries, that my mom—and then I—used for decades, I was motivated to learn how to make my own, especially since even Kathy's generous gift was barely enough to cover a solstice breakfast at home and a Boxing Day brekke with my sibs and their families.

candied grapefruit peel—just look at the luscious colour and translucency! photographed 6jan23 with a pixel6pro, scaled only.

Think I've cracked this at last! The secret seems to be that,

  1. you leave most of the white matter adhering to the yellow skin; and
  2. after bringing to a boil, the peel is cooked very slowly and gently until translucent; rolled in sugar; and allowed to dry (dehydrate, really) for a day or two.[2]

Here's my method, mostly based on this recipe & comments:

  • wash grapefruit with dish detergent & thoroughly rinse;
  • eat fruit;
  • slice into strips, peel away actual flesh & membranes, which is actually quite easy to do by grabbing them at one end of the strip
  • weigh peels (2 grapefruit in this case yielded about 240g peel)
  • place peels in 1 qt sauce pan with plenty of water to cover, bring to boil & pour off; repeat (for a total of 2x)
  • just cover with fresh water (about 3/4–1” in a 1 qt saucepan)
  • add 250g sugar[3] , dissolve by bringing to a boil
  • reduce to simmer, cooking at #3[4] or so for 20–90 minutes until peels are completely translucent and soft and much of the water is boiled off
  • optional: add orange oil!
  • roll in sugar
  • place on sheet & allow to dry for up to 2 days in oven

2nd try, with 1 thick peel:

  • wash grapefruit in soapy water to remove pesticide residue
  • cut and eat fruit;
  • cut halves into wedges roughly 15-20mm (1/2–5/8") wide
  • Leftover juice will leak into pith, turning it pink. To you wish to avoid this remove membranes immediately.
  • weigh peels. 1 grapefruit yielded 125 g peel
  • cover with at least 1" water and boil; pour off; repeat and drain (2x)
  • just barely cover with fresh water and add 125g sugar
  • bring to boil, and let simmer
  • if peels seem to be taking too long to become translucent, add more sugar (I added approximately 2–3T)
  • heat at #4 till water is mostly gone—there was only about 15-20ml (approx 1T) sugar syrup/water left
  • Dry peels for a day or two, roll in coarse sugar

Orange peels from mandarins only require a single rinse—in lieu of washing them I filled the jar with water & shook vigourously to clean them. Then chopped finely, & stuck them right in the leftover syrup from the grapefruit peels, adding leftover sugar from rolling as well. Worked great:)

And the bonus cherry on top? f2tE, who is turning into a real, bona fide foodie, introduced me to fancy Luxardo maraschino cherries. Not only are they yummy, the also look as if they're not dyed with some cancer-inducing red:)

[1]An annual xmas giftie I always look forward to:)

[2]In fact, may wish to dehydrate, then roll in sugar.

[3]add more if peels aren't becoming translucent in a timely manner!

[4]I have an induction cooktop that ranges from 1–10—IOW, a low simmer.


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