Wow! This is my 100th post! Time sure flies when you're having fun. Today was a good day. I managed to get quite a bit accomplished: several loads of laundry (the Saturday usual), a shopping trip with J14 where we purchased a waffle iron, sorting and choosing fabric for J14's practice bag that she is working on right now (I'm giving advice but trying to not tell her what to do) and I made candied grapefruit peel.
The grapefruit peel, I have decided is one of those things that you will either love or hate. I LOVE grapefruit and am one of those bizarre heretics who likes to peel and eat grapefruit just like I would an orange. I don't mind a bit of the white pith that most people think is quite bitter. J14 is the same way.
I started out with 3 grapefruit peels that I had been saving in a bag in the fridge. I used my handy-dandy orange peeler tool from Tupperware to score it into quarters and then peeled it. I put the quartered peels into a large pot with lightly salted water (about a teaspoon to at least 4 cups of water). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes- this is to remove a lot of the oil that makes it bitter.
They initially float but as they cook they will sink a bit and turn slightly translucent. After simmering them for the 20 minutes in the salted water, drain, cover again with fresh (unsalted) water, bring to a boil again and simmer for about 10 minutes. I did some research before trying this and some recipes called for 5 separate 1 minute boils. I also noted that several of the people who tried the frequent, quick boils were unhappy with their results. I opted to go for the method with the longer simmer.
When the second simmer is complete, drain and let cool slightly. I'm not sure how long I let them cool- it was however long it took me to hang a load of laundry from the washer and start another.
The next step is to lightly scrape some of the excess pith off the peel. Several sources suggested using a paring knife but what I found worked best was, of all things, a grapefruit spoon. I used the serrated edge to scrape off some of the more stringy bits and remove some of pith where it was really thick. How much you take off is up to you. Then I used a sharp knife to slice the peels into thin (1/4 inch or smaller) strips.
Little strips of peel. It's a bit messy.
Then I make a syrup of 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup water. I heated this until the sugar was dissolved, then added the strips of peel and brought the whole mess to a boil. Then I let it simmer until the syrup was almost entirely absorbed. I forgot to look at the time when I was doing this bit but it seems like it took forever- it was probably at least 45 minutes. When the syrup gets thick you need to watch it carefully so it doesn't scorch. The strips of peel will look very clear- kind of like gummy worms.
Then I took them out of the syrup a few at a time into a pan of more sugar and rolled them to coat. Then I lay them to dry on wax paper covered baking sheets. You could use cooling racks as well but mine isn't big enough for as much peel as I had.
The finished product!
Rolled in sugar and laid out they look a bit like very heavily salted french fries but taste nothing like that. I'm going to leave them out to dry for at least a day, then I'll put them in an airtight jar in the fridge.
My father has made candied orange and lemon peels for the past few years. I think all candied citrus peel is an acquired taste. These are very much a "Hi! How are you! I'm a grapefruit!" experience. It is a very intense grapefruit flavor with a bit of an aftertaste as well- a little bitter. J14 has been snacking on them and thinks they're addicting. I can eat only one or two at a time before I've had enough. For me the are a 'self-limiting snack'. I like that. I'm not tempted to eat too much and with the grapefruit aftertaste, I'm not tempted to eat anything else, so who knows- maybe these are the new grapefruit diet!In other news, V heard back from the manufacturer of my canner. He actually got an email from the foundry foreman and not just some customer service person. They are going to be sending another lid- evidently no questions asked- although V did send photos with his initial email to the company. He had to send them our shipping address but hasn't heard if we need to then ship the original lid back to them. But things are in the works. Yeah!!
As I mentioned earlier J14 and I went on a quest this afternoon for a waffle iron. Even though it is a purchase of a new item we figured that it will eventually save us money. One thing that has been bothering me a lot recently is that we have kept buying Eggo waffles for the children (especially the boys) for breakfast. They are something that they all enjoy, are reasonably nutritious (but only if you don't read the ingredient list!), and are quick to prepare in the morning. But I HATE that we have been buying them. So we plan to make our own waffles and freeze them instead of buying Eggos. That way I know that the flour won't take 3+ lines of the ingredient list and they will be much less expensive. We're going to make waffles tomorrow for breakfast to try it out. I don't know about the children but I'm excited- it's another step toward frugality and away from the grocery store.