It has come to my attention that I am a little stubborn. Maybe some of you all know that already, but these grapefruits really brought it home for me. The lesson I have learned from all of this is simplicity in food is often best. A Texas Rio Star grapefruit doesn’t need anything except a spoon to be perfectly complete. Every December I am lucky enough to get a big box of them in the mail from my family’s farm in South Texas. This year I was feeling ambitious and thought I would find a way to use them for Christmas presents. Then I found this post on Smitten Kitchen. “Candied grapefruit peels, what a great idea!” I thought. I should have seen a big red flag when I read that Deb had trouble with them. But I decided to give it a try anyway.
I started making the peels Tuesday night. I knew I needed to find a solution to the bitterness problem people had run into. The bitterness comes from the pith, the soft spongy white part on the inside of the rind. It’s just as difficult to get rid of as it is to say, and it really “pithed” me off. After using various kitchen utensils and destroying a few rinds, I finally found the answer: a grapefruit knife. Perhaps this should have been more obvious to me, but in my defense I forgot I even had one. It was not until I was about to resort to a chainsaw that I found it. I momentarily felt like I had conquered this recipe. If that had been the only stumbling block, I would have been OK. But Wednesday morning, after the peels had chilled, this recipe proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.
The next morning I put the peels on a rack to drain, but two hours later I found that my peels were still very syrupy. Maybe this is because I started simmering them at 10 o’clock the night before and I woke up at 2 o’clock and realized they were still cooking on the stove. Anyway, I tossed the peels in the sugar only to make more of a sticky mess. Not knowing what to do, I threw them in the freezer hoping that would help. Meanwhile, I melted the chocolate to dip the peels in. Need I elaborate on how messy* that was? Let’s just say I am going to have to do a good scrub down on my kitchen counters so ants don’t take over. After it was all said and done they did taste good, but in my case I would say that making candy is best left to the professionals, if only for my sanity. However, I did make a lot of a grapefruit juice out of the unused fruit, and next week I am going to post a much easier recipe using it. Until next time, Merry Christmas!
Click here for the recipe, if you are a brave and/or stubborn like me.
*If you make these and want to dip them in chocolate, I suggest using a double boiler to melt the chocolate and keep it warm while you coat the peels. Also, to make the dipping process easier I would put the peels in the freezer until they are firm. Then after dipping half of each peel in chocolate, I would sprinkle the other half with sugar. If you coat them with sugar first the chocolate gets grainy.