Friday, November 14, 2008


Wednesday Eli and I were perusing the aisles of our new favorite grocery/produce store when I saw a crazy good deal on Texas grapefruit, they were surprisingly normal-sized. I remembered that Brian likes the juice from this particular citrus fruit and decided to get 8, should make a pitcher full. I got home and had juiced one when my crazy conscience, which has even come to scold me for throwing away trash, reminded me I could do something better with those peels. Then I remembered.
The summer after my sophomore year of college I lived in one of my favorite places, my grandma's house in Santa Barbara. I was supposed to help take care of my grandpa who has Parkinson's, but I ended up spending most of my time in the kitchen making meals, baked goods, fresh pasta, and, a couple of times, candied grapefruit rind. My grandma recommended it since it was something she at as a child and she had a tree in the front yard. My sweet little grandpa loved them too and they didn't last long, even the quite bitter batch.
Here I was, acting like I too had grown up during the Depression, not being able to throw away rinds. Another example. Ever since Brian's grandma told me how, after having a roast chicken, she would save the bones to make broth, I can't even throw a chicken carcass away without doing the same. So, after $1, 8 grapefruits, many cups of sugar, and many more hours spent, I ended up with juice for Brian and pounds of candy for my grandparents. It was a bit of work, but totally worth it. For a faster version of the candies to follow, just peel the zest off lemon, orange, or grapefruit and bring to a boil in some water and then rinse in cold water. They will be ready to candy.

Candied Citrus Peels

Peel, including the white pith, firm and shiny skinned lemon, orange, or grapefruit (I cut them in fourths for uniformity). In saucepan, cover peels with cold water and slowly bring to boil and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Repeat this process many times, my cookbook says 3-5, but I must have done at least 8 to get as much of the bitterness out as possible. I've read that it isn't all supposed to come out, it's supposed to be a little bitter. To candy, cut them in slices and add back to pan with 1/4 Water and 1/2 cup Sugar for every cup of peel (8 grapefruit gave me 5 cups). Let the sugar water boil away, stirring periodically. At this point you can lay them all out on foil to cool, but I coated each one in sugar and let them dry on cookie racks before storing in an airtight container.
You can eat them plain, garnish desserts, cut and add to fruit cakes, or dip orange ones in chocolate (the ones to the left aren't mine).
Hope my Grandparents like them in their spiffy new Ikea canister. Let me know if you're brave enough to try or have had some before, I would love to hear.


josejosejose said...

Lena, you are so resourceful. I think part of your not wanting to wast stems from your California roots, where people use their bath water to water their gardens. Grandma is gonna love the candy.

Helena said...

who's josejosejose????

Cristina said...

You are so resourceful. I have the same thing (feeling guilty throwing out food) but you find ways to use things I would never even dream of. I agree with 'josejosejose' its probably partially the californian in you. We are all hippies compared to the rest of the country I hear. lol I would try the grapefruit candy but really I don't have time to make it =(. If you ever make it again, think of me =).

josejosejose said...

josejosejose is Cirila, using one of Greg's handles.