I've been working with grapefruit a lot recently, and really enjoy it. I'm trying to make use of the entire fruit, with candied peel and juice, to get every bit of goodness out of this amazing fruit.

When I’m using the water I boil the peel in (either mixed with the juice or alone), it is extremely bitter, and I have to use quite a bit more sugar than I'd like to make it palatable.

What other ingredients besides sugar would work well in a liquid could counteract the bitter taste and make the water palpable? I’m a kitchen newbie and could really use some advice here.

Right now I'm just mixing the water boiled off the peels with the squeezed juice and pulp, then adding sugar to make it palatable. So far I've just been working by taste test, and don't have specific proportions sleuthed out yet.

  • 2
    Salt can help to mask bitterness, so a little salt might reduce how much sugar you need
    – Joe
    Apr 21, 2023 at 0:23
  • 1
    Use some salt. My granny always put salt on her grapefruit. We thought she was silly. It counteracts bitterness. May 1, 2023 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


The rind of citrus is frequently blanched several times in boiling water to REMOVE bitterness, before candying the peel. So, it is not surprising that you find the water bitter. That water is typically discarded. The only way I know of to counteract that bitterness is with a sweetener of some sort. Your options are various sugars, honey, agave, or, I suppose, artificial sweeteners. I'm not sure about "good stuff". In my opinion, you are better off discarding that water.

  • 1
    That raises an interesting question for me - are artificial sweeteners as effective at masking bitterness as sugars (including those in agave nectar and honey, which are mainly the common glucose, fructose and sucrose)? I may ask it properly if I can think of a nice way to put it.
    – Chris H
    Apr 19, 2023 at 10:40
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    " I'm not sure about "good stuff"" It's not something I wanted to dive into here too much, because for the purpose of this question I'm concerned about the culinary aspect, but it's a herbal remedy, as I'm trying to learn more about the health benefits of different foods, but this really isn't the place for debating such things. Thanks for the suggestions on agave and honey, I'll have to try those!
    – Sumsuch
    Apr 19, 2023 at 16:24
  • 5
    @Sumsuch thanks for staying away from the health topic, we rarely see new users that actually check out the scope of the site and phrase their question accordingly.
    – Stephie
    Apr 20, 2023 at 5:12

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