Friday, October 26, 2012

Candied Grapefruit Peel

I'd never had candied grapefruit peel until I spent the holidays with Jason's grandmother. Each year before Christmas, she and Jason's mom get together for at least a day of baking and make various Christmas cookies, candied grapefruit and orange peel, and toffee. I was a bit skeptical of the peel - isn't there a reason we just throw it away? - but when I tried it I was hooked.

After a heavy holiday meal, sometimes I want something a little sweet that isn't too much of a commitment. These little bites are the perfect balance of sweet and tart and they don't add weight to your already bloated tummy. (Don't get me wrong, I pretty much always eat the dessert, too, but I'm just sayin'!) The other awesome thing about using the peel is that it's on hand anyway, as we buy a big box of grapefruits from Jason's grandfather every year.

So as the holidays approach, keep this candy in mind. It is easy to make and will make your tastebuds happy!

Candied Grapefruit Peel
adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Start with the peel of 2 grapefruit
Cut into small strips, around 2" long and 1/4" wide. Use a sharp serrated knife to remove most of the pith (the white stuff). I like to leave a little, though the original recipe calls for removing all of it. Leaving just a little does make it a bit more bitter, but the pith is also more absorbent than the peel, so it makes the finished product juicer. And because it soaks up more syrup, I don't find it overwhelmingly bitter.

In a medium saucepan, combine:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Turn heat to medium and use a whisk to help the sugar crystals dissolve. Once all of the sugar has dissolved, add the grapefruit peel. Cook over low heat uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until most, not all, of the syrup is absorbed by the peel.

NOTE: Don't let the syrup get too hot or when the peel dries, it will stick to your teeth and you'll have to throw the whole batch out.

Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for several hours.

Once again heat the syrup and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour off the excess syrup. Let sit to cool for a moment.

Meanwhile, lay out a large, clean cloth towel on the counter. Pour onto of it:
1 cup sugar

Roll the grapefruit peel in the sugar until each piece is completely coated.

Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Refrigerated, the peel will stay good for several months.

Eat up!

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