I love making trash into treasure. Culinarily, this means using things like citrus rinds and asparagus stems instead of throwing them out. A friend shared her method for candying grapefruit peels with me, and I discovered that other citrus peels work well this way too. I like to finish them by rolling in sugar or a sour sugar mixture to give them a nice sparkle. These are always a big hit when I bring them into the office. —evel8yn
For grapefruit rinds, you don't need to remove the pith. For all other citrus fruits, remove as much of the white pith as possible using a sharp paring knife. To do this, place the peel flat on a cutting board and carefully slide the knife between the pith and the colored layer. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the more pith you remove, the better. Cut peels into 3-inch by 1/3-inch strips. (This can be very imprecise.)
Place the peels in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, drain, and return to the pot. Repeat this process three more times.
After the fourth boil, place the peels back in the pot. Cover with water, add the sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, two hours. The peels will be translucent and the syrup thickened.
Let the peels cool in the syrup and then put in glass jars. Cover with syrup. Store in the refrigerator. They can be used right away but will last a few months. Any extra syrup works wonderfully as a citrus-infused simple syrup in your favorite cocktail.
The night before you want to serve the peels, remove them from the syrup and drain on wire racks overnight.
For sour peels, combine sugar and citric acid in a small bowl. Taste to adjust sourness. I use a 3:2 ratio of sugar to citric acid. For sweet peels, just pour some sugar into a small bowl.
Roll the peels, one at a time, in either the sour mixture or the sugar and place in a single layer on a plate. The sugar on the surface will dissolve into the peels over time, so these are best eaten within a few days of rolling in sugar.