I’ve never gotten past my childhood fascination with sparkles. I love tinsel and have never met a pair of glittery pair of shoes that I did not covet, even if I had nowhere to wear them. So, when it comes to holiday sweets, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I adore candied citrus peels.
My candied citrus peel adventure was a 2-stage process, as are my citrus peel posts. A few days ago, I described how to make candied orange peel and today’s post is about candied grapefruit and lemon peels.
The procedure is just about the same, but there are a few differences between my versions of orange peels on the one hand and grapefruits and lemons on the other. The bottom line is that the recipes take about the same length of time to prepare, but the grapefruit and lemon slices don’t need as long to dry before the last (sugar-coating) step.
Candied grapefruit and lemon look delicate and their sweet and tart flavor is a lovely way to end a holiday (or any other) meal. I hope you enjoy them yourself, and perhaps giving them (with orange peels too) as a gift for friends and family.
Candied Grapefruit and Lemon Peels
- 2 grapefuits or 4 lemons. If using lemons, find ones with thick skins.
- 2½ – 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of light corn syrup (to keep the simple syrup from crystalizing)
- Cutting board
- Large, heavy pot with lid
- Colander or strainer
- Large spoon
- Tongs or a large fork
- 2 large cookie sheets or cooling racks or wax paper
- Bowl or plastic container (lid optional – see directions about sugar coating the peels)
- Cut the grapefruits or lemons in quarters lengthwise.
- Peel the skin off. If working with grapefruits, either pull most of the pith off of the peel now with your fingers, or do it after the boiling steps by scraping it off with a spoon. (Save the fruit for eating or another use.)
- Put the quarters of peel into a pot of cold water and bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for 3 minutes, then drain it and run cold water over the quarters of peel.
- Repeat the boiling process two more times. The final (third) time, let the water boil for 10 minutes. During the first boiling, the quarters of peel will float, but as they become more water-logged they will sink.
- After the third boiling, drain the water, run cold water over the quarters of peel and leave them aside to cool as you prepare the simple syrup.
- Put 2 cups of the sugar, the corn syrup, and 1½ cups of water in the pot, cover it and slowly melt the sugar under a low light, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely melted and the liquid is entirely transparent. Note: if the liquid is translucent the sugar is not yet completely dissolved. If you prefer, you can substitute ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar for the corn syrup – either one will prevent the simple syrup from crystalizing.
- Cut the cooled grapefruit or lemon peel quarters into thin strips, preferably between ⅛ – ¼ inch wide.
- Put the strips of peel into the simple syrup, bring it to a boil and keep them boiling for an hour, stirring occasionally. The peels will become shiny and the liquid will diminish in volume, although some will remain.
- Remove the peels from the pot using tongs or a large fork and place them on cookie sheets, cooling racks or wax paper. The leftover simple syrup is great for sweetening room temperature or cold drinks or desserts with a sweet syrup that is not honey. If you don’t want it, make sure to dispose of the syrup in the trash or dissolve it in a considerable amount of hot water, rather than pouring it down the drain undiluted.
- The peels will be quite sticky. Separate them with a fork or your hands, so that they are not touching each other much, if at all. Let them dry out for about an hour. The peels must feel at least slightly tacky when you roll them in the sugar; otherwise the sugar won’t stick to them.
- Roll the partially dried slices of peel in ½ -1 cup of sugar. I found it easiest to use a plastic bowl with a lid, placing a few pieces in the bowl, then covering and shaking it.
- Lay the slices of peel out again to dry completely, which should only take about 2 hours.
The grapefruit or lemon peels can be stored for a week or longer in a tightly covered container.