Uses for Grapefruit Peel

By Tiff Coe

A popular member of the citrus family, grapefruit offers a burst of color in the winter months--with a taste profile that is both sweet and tart. Perhaps you serve it for breakfast or alongside other fruits; it also works well on salads and can even be broiled. More often that not, however, the grapefruit rind is likely to end up in your trash can. Next time you prepare this citrus fruit, you might consider some new ideas for ways to make use of the tangy peel.

Versatile grapefruit peel.

Candied Grapefruit Peel

Candied grapefruit peel is a seasonal treat that looks attractive on Christmastime tables and makes a great gift. To prepare the peel in this fashion, slice the peel (pith attached) into diagonal strips approximately 1/2-inch wide. The peelings are then placed in a saucepan and covered with water. Bring to a boil and strain, repeating this step two more times. Then add granulated sugar (approximately 1/2 cup per grapefruit) and enough water to cover the peels; simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. After cooling, peels may be dipped in chocolate if you are so inclined. Store in the refrigerator.

Citrus Sea Salt

This simple recipe for citrus sea salt is easy to adapt based on your taste preferences and/or the citrus you have available. It makes a nice gift and pairs well with fish and salad dishes. Wash and dry grapefruit and any other citrus fruits you wish to use; organic citrus is preferable when you are going to eat the peel. Preheat oven to 225°F. Using a grater or zester, prepare 1 tbsp. of zest for each cup of sea salt you wish to use. Then mix salt with zest on a baking sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until zest is dry, approximately two hours.

Infused Liquor

You can add grapefruit peel (with or without the fruit itself) to liquor such as vodka and let the flavor infuse into the liquid. Gently shake the bottle every few days until the spirit has reached its desired flavor; one to two weeks should be sufficient. Once the vodka is infused, you can strain it to remove any grapefruit pieces.

Other Ideas

Many creative things can be done with grapefruit peel. You can use the zest on salads or in cooking; it can even be dried and added to loose-leaf tea mixtures. It is also possible to infuse olive oil with the essence of grapefruit or to make marmalade with it. A grapefruit half, cleaned of the pulp and pith, also offers a stylish way to present a fruit salad; it can serve as the bowl. If you simply want to dispose of the peel in a beneficial way, add it to your compost pile.