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For Catherine: how to candy citrus peel

I do this primarily with grapefruit peel, but it should work for any type of citrus. It's been my experience that grapefruit peel is less bitter and more tender (and can be used in place of orange peel in many cases).

Here's the technique:

1) for grapefruit just cut the peel into strips about 1/4" thick... don't worry cutting off the white pithy part. For other citrus, it's often recommended that you scrape most of the white part off to cut down on the bitterness.

2) Put all the peel in a saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil, then drain. Fill the pan with cold water and do it again. And again. For grapefruit I usually do this five times. This is the part not to skimp on, because it's leeching the bitterness out. The less white pith is on your peel, the fewer times you should have to do this, but I like way leaving it some on makes for a thicker, more toothsome end product. (The pith absorbs lots of the simple syrup and becomes almost jellied.)

Basically: if your first batch is too bitter for you, boil it more times next time. :) And no, you can't boil it for half an hour and call it good: the changing of the water is important. I've tested this theory out so that you don't have to!

3) For the next step, a fairly wide skillet works best, but just use the widest thing you've got. Put some sugar and half as much water in the pan and stir until the sugar is melted. I'd start with a half cup of sugar and fourth cup water; you can always add more if you need it. Put the peel in and stir frequently: you want the peel to evenly absorb the sugar syrup. Remove the peel just before all the syrup is absorbed; if you let the pan go dry, the sugars will crystallize. You'll know it's done when the peel looks a bit translucent, and most importantly, doesn't make you pucker when you taste it! Add more sugar syrup if needed and keep going.

4) Let the peel dry for awhile on a rack or baking sheet. When it feels tacky to the touch (but not too outright sticky) toss it with granulated sugar. Now you can store it (for around a week room temp; it also freezes fabulously) without it sticking together. Ta-da! You just candied citrus peel.
If it's a bit bitter on its own, don't despair. I love the stuff I make but I rarely enjoy eating it all by itself. A good coating of chocolate works wonders; baking with it also covers a multitude of flaws (muffins, mmm).

candied grapefruit peel


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2012 08:22 am (UTC)
Excellent! I can't wait too give it a try! Thanks :)
Jun. 6th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
Jun. 6th, 2012 08:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this! I really want to do it.
Jun. 6th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Good luck! (it's also really good chopped up in tiny pieces in granola. :)
Jun. 6th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
I've been wanting to try this since the first time you posted about it years ago, but I didn't remember it was sooo much work! :P All that boiling. I guess if you just have it going in the background it's not too bad.
Jun. 6th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if you just do that part while making other things (or washing dishes or something!) it's not so bad. I'd get pretty bored if I just sat there and waited for it to boil each time. :)
Jun. 7th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
Still, how do you not lose track?! :) I'd need a whiteboard set up so I could tally it up.
Jun. 7th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Well ... more than once I've done them a few extra times because I couldn't remember where I was in the process. :)
Jun. 6th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
This looks like a fun thing to try sometime.
Jun. 6th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
And so thrifty, right? ;)
Jun. 8th, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
David said, "Ummm!" (yum) :)

This looks like it would be yummy!
Jun. 9th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Who knows when I'll have citrus again, but I'll have to bring you some sometime. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )