candied grapefruit peels
This all started with Homesick Texan. No wait, this all started with last year’s orangettes, to this day one of the most popular posts on this site. No wait, this all started with a lifelong (can you say that? when you’re just 31?) love of grapefruits. My favorite way to eat them is the same exact way my mom showed me, halved in a bowl with each section loosened with a arched, double-serrated grapefruit knife. First, I’d pop all of the sections into my mouth in probably under two minutes flat. But then, then came the “grapefruit soup,” I’d call it. Mom would help us scrape all of the residual grapefruit bits into the bowl, then squeeeze every last bit of juice, discard the empty shell of a peel and this, this my friends is the best grapefruit juice you’ll ever drink in your life. You must drink it straight from the bowl. I could live on it, and it alone.
Which brings us to the Homesick Texan, who mentioned in December that “everyone knows the juiciest, largest and sweetest ruby red grapefruit comes from the Rio Grande Valley” and it was funny, because I hadn’t known that at all. But given the price of the grapefruits we’d been seeing in the stores ($2 a pop), their sorry state (dented but still appallingly shiny with wax) and their flavor (average at best) I was just itching to find out. So, we ordered ourselves a little sampler from South Texas Organics and quite a few days later were presented with exactly what we were promised: the very best ruby red grapefruits, from South Texas.
But the coolest part was their sheen–there wasn’t one. Sans wax, pesticides and all the other you-don’t-want-to-know-whats they spray on most grapefruits, the peels beckoned me. I remembered how delicious those candied orange rinds were and had to go at it again. Using a Jacques Torres recipe as my guide, I boiled them four times. I candied them for two hours. I let them dry out on racks for another two. I rolled them in sugar. My apartment walls still smell dimly of grapefruit oil, and well, sadly, that might be the only good thing that came out of this experiment, save a few pretty photos.
They are inedibly bitter. I cannot swallow more than a bite. Even half of one and my face looks like one of those babies eating lemon (video removed, such a bummer!), plus or minus a few chin rolls and wrinkles. And I’m so sad about this, because, well, I had some high hopes. I had expected some level of bitterness greater than the oranges, hey, I know these are grapefruits afterall, but I hadn’t expected not to be able to get down a single one. And I love bitter things, as does Alex. But these, these didn’t work. So, if you have had any luck candying grapefruit peels, tell me your secrets, will you? I await your input with bated breath.
[Jacques Torres' Candied Grapefruit Peel Recipe, for reference]
Other, more successful smittenkitchen.com citrus desserts:
One year ago: Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto
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