Candied Grapefruit Peels

February 3, 2011

It sounds good in theory, right? I thought it did. As a child I used to literally suck the juices out of lemons and limes. My parents had to hide them from me for fear that I would ruin my teeth before being able to experience the joy and confidence that comes with braces, retainer(s), and head-gear (did anyone else have to wear that horrible Hannibal Lecter-like contraption at night just for a slight overbite?) The plaid navy and white catholic school uniform was the icing on that gorgeous cake. So when I found a recipe for candied lemon peels, I thought "too predictable, too uniformy". Why not put the skins of some ruby red grapefruits to work? Much to my surprise, there are a few recipes out there, even more surprising, no one mentions the ensuing facial contortions upon taking a bite.

When it comes to food, I can handle just about anything. Spicy, rich, tart, or just plain weird, I don't mind. But these 'candied' grapefruits strayed way...way over to the bitter end of the flavour spectrum. I gave about 5 pieces a fighting chance, hoping that the previous one had just been 'the bad patch of skin'. It just didn't work. My right eye kept twitching and I think the face I made was even worse than the one I get after eating Brussels sprouts (sorry, mom. I know you were hoping I'd outgrown that one.) Not all is lost, however. These candied peels would be perfect as a garnish on top of a dark chocolate cake. Or just dipped into a vat of ganache. Chocolate can fix almost anything, Almost.

Candied Grapefruit Peels (recipe adapted from Epicurious)Print

Ingredients2 ruby red grapefruits (mine were small, so it didn't make much.)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water (for the syrup)
1 cup of superfine sugar (optional, I didn't need it.)

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Stand the fruit, cut side down, on a cutting board and, cutting from top to bottom, cut off bands of peel about 1-inch wide. If it's too difficult, carefully peel off the entire skin, trying to leave as much of it in tact as possible, and scoop out the fruit using a spoon or the back of a knife. Cut the skin into 1-inch wide bands.
Fill a medium size pot with cold water, add the peels and slowly bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Drain the peels, empty the water, and repeat this process 3 more times. *Note* This is supposed to remove the bitterness, and since mine were still quite bitter, you may want to do this more than 3 times.*
After the final time, drain the peels and set them aside.
Have a lightly oiled rack placed over a cookie sheet at the ready.
In a large skillet, combine the 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a slow boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the peels. Keep stirring them around until most of the syrup has been absorbed. If the syrup begins to crystallize on the peels, immediately remove from them from the skillet and onto the prepared rack. Be very careful not to burn yourself on the hot syrup.
The sugar didn't crystallize on my peels until the very end. If this happens, you won't need to use the superfine sugar because the syrup will have adhered to the strips, making it difficult for the sugar to stick to.
If you're lucky enough to have made it through without crystallizing the sugar, place the peels on the rack and allow them to come to room temperature. Once cool enough to touch, drop them into a large shallow bowl filled with the superfine sugar and toss to coat.
Keep candied peels at room temperature in an airtight container.


  1. These look amazing! I wish I had some tonite!

  2. It is so sad you did not enjoy these! I've made them a couple times with good results (friends and I couldn't stop eating them), but I did have to simmer them in the sugar water an incredibly long time to get them right. And then they took about a day to actually dry afterward...

  3. Hi erin,
    Mine didn't require a drying period, so maybe I should have cooked them longer.
    Thanks! Maybe I'll give them another chance. :D

  4. You're right, this does sound like a good idea, especially since I got carried away and now have 2 bags of grapefruit hanging around. It's too bad they were so bitter! I made candied orange peel for the December DB challenge, but then never made the stollen, but my recipe had me simmer them for hours and hours. It was a pain, but they are certainly not bitter. I have a quart jar of them in my fridge if you've got any ideas!

  5. Mary, Why not cover them in dark chocolate and make orangettes?! :D

  6. I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this...

    Have a great time,

  7. I totally had to wear a headgear when I was in elementary school, even at sleepovers. It was horrifying. :)

  8. I have never had these before, and grapefruit is my favorite citrus fruit by far. I will need to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. That is one tasty looking piece of fruit!

  10. I LOVE these. Better than any candy! I posted the making of my orange ones last year, but made grape fuit at the same time. For some reason, they just don't turn out as pretty... but they taste the best of all candies citrus, in my opinion!

  11. They look so beautiful, it's a shame that they didn't taste better. Maybe some of the suggestions above would improve them. You've got me wanting to try them now!

  12. Love your photos! I'm sorry they didn't taste as good as they looked. If you try another way, let us know. I'd love to make them.

  13. Bookmarked;)! We have citrus growing in the neighborhoods around here, so I can use this recipe:)

  14. Oh no! I love that you experimented with an unusual ingredient, I think that going by the comments it's worth another try! It looks amazing!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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