The hardest part about working with share box #8’s citrus has been to keep my boys from devouring it all before I’ve had the chance. Truth be told, my fellow Springdellians, you probably don’t need any creative ideas for what to do with the fruit itself, as it is all absolutely delicious as-is. But what about those lovely peels?
While working with the peels, I was reminded of a funny story of a failed experiment of mine involving little boxes made out of orange peels. Many years ago, I saw this video clip on the Martha Stewart show. When I saw these cute little boxes made out of orange peels, I just had to make them!!! Unfortunately, they came out brownish, warped and icky looking- absolutely nothing like the ones in the video clip.
The funny thing was, my late mother-in-law (who was my future mother-in-law at the time) also saw the same Martha Stewart episode unbeknownst to me. Mom was equally compelled to make some of the orange peel boxes that Martha was featuring that day. When I visited her and saw the little brownish crumbly things on her counter, I immediately knew what they were. Mom and I laughed so hard comparing our boxes, neither of which looked anything like Martha’s.
Nowadays, I mostly use the orange peels to make a fresh smelling household cleaner that does wonders for pet odors, including the occasional canine tinkle accident. (That may be too much information, but we are family, right?) The easy-peasy and popular formula I use is to soak the peels for a couple of weeks in a jar of white vinegar, then pop the liquid in a spray bottle. It’s great stuff!
Today I’m trying something new with the citrus peels, namely the grapefruit peels.
First, you cut the peels into thin strips. You can certainly make them look a lot neater than mine, as I was working with peels that were already pretty ravaged. Be sure to cut or scoop off any thick pith (the whitish part), as too much pith effects the texture and flavor.
You then place the peels in a small saucepan and cover them with water. I came across a couple of different methods on what to do next, including boiling them for about an hour. I chose the method where you bring them to a boil then drain the water and repeat the process several times to remove the peel’s bitterness. After the third draining, add 2 parts sugar to 1 part water to the saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
You then lay them on a wire rack to dry for several hours, then toss them in some good sugar. The taste outcome reminded me a lot of those gummy citrus candy slices that they used to sell in the candy shops, except with a true citrus taste.
I read about dipping the candied peels in chocolate and tried that as well, I used melted semisweet chocolate but found it a bit too sweet for my taste. When I try these again, I’ll go for a dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao.
I found that though they were good, I could only eat a few of these at a time. Glen wasn’t interested in trying them, my little ones were also a bit skeptical. The candied peels don’t keep for too long, so rather than make a bulk batch for myself, I decided to grate up some zest with the remaining peels. I popped the zest in the freezer and have it available for use in other recipes as needed.
What are you doing with your citrus peels? We’d love to hear about it!