Can you boil grapefruit peel?

Grapefruit peel contains beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that provide several health benefits. Some people use grapefruit peel to make tea, adding the peel to boiling water to extract the nutrients. This article explores whether boiling grapefruit peel is safe and effective for obtaining its beneficial plant compounds.

Nutrients in Grapefruit Peel

Grapefruit peel is highly nutritious and contains certain plant compounds not found in the grapefruit flesh. Here are some of the main nutrients and plant compounds in grapefruit peel:

Nutrient Per 100 Grams
Vitamin C 43.2 mg
Vitamin A 1,100 IU
Naringin 1,500–3,100 mg
Naringenin 79–340 mg
Hesperidin 100–480 mg

As you can see, grapefruit peel is exceptionally high in antioxidants and plant compounds like naringin, naringenin, and hesperidin. These plant chemicals give grapefruit peel many of its health benefits.

Benefits of Grapefruit Peel Plant Compounds

Here are some of the main evidence-based health benefits of the plant compounds in grapefruit peel:

Plant Compound Benefits
Naringin Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering effects
Naringenin Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cholesterol-lowering effects
Hesperidin Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cholesterol-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering effects

Research shows that consuming these plant compounds may help protect against chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Is It Safe to Boil Grapefruit Peel?

Boiling grapefruit peel is generally safe, as long as the peel is thoroughly washed first. However, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pesticide residues: Grapefruit peel may contain traces of pesticides. Be sure to wash the peel thoroughly before boiling.
  • Furanocoumarins: Grapefruit contains furanocoumarins, compounds that can interact with certain medications. Levels are highest in the peel.
  • Grapefruit juice interaction: Drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice interacts with some medicines. This may also apply to grapefruit peel tea.

To be safe, check with your doctor about any medication interactions before consuming large amounts of grapefruit peel. Thoroughly washing the peel can help remove pesticide residues.

How to Boil Grapefruit Peel

Here is a simple way to make a tea from grapefruit peel:

  1. Wash the grapefruit peel thoroughly under running water.
  2. Chop the peel into small pieces.
  3. Add the chopped peel to a pot of boiling water. Use approximately 1 cup of peel per 2 cups of water.
  4. Let the peel boil for 10–15 minutes to extract the nutrients.
  5. Strain out the solid peel pieces.
  6. Enjoy the grapefruit peel tea warm or chilled over ice.

You can tweak the ratio of water to peel based on how strong you want the tea flavor. Start with more water for milder flavor.

Nutrition Facts for Grapefruit Peel Tea

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (240 ml) of grapefruit peel tea made with 1 cup of fresh grapefruit peel boiled in 2 cups of water:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 12
Carbs 3 grams
Sugar 0 grams
Vitamin C 9% of the DV
Calcium 1% of the DV
Iron 1% of the DV

As you can see, grapefruit peel tea is very low in calories and carbs and provides a decent amount of vitamin C.

Side Effects of Grapefruit Peel Tea

Drinking grapefruit peel tea is likely safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, some possible side effects can include:

  • Medication interactions: Grapefruit can interact with certain medications.
  • Heartburn: Due to the citric acid content.
  • Upset stomach: Grapefruit peel contains volatile oils that may cause GI upset when consumed in excess.
  • Allergic reaction: Some people may be allergic to grapefruit peel.

Start with 4–8 ounces (120–240 ml) of grapefruit peel tea per day to assess your tolerance. And consult your doctor if you take any medications that may interact with grapefruit.

How to Store Grapefruit Peel

You can store fresh grapefruit peel in the refrigerator or freezer to make tea:

  • Refrigerator: Store fresh, unpeeled grapefruit in the crisper drawer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freezer: Peel the grapefruit and store the clean peel in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months.

You can also dehydrate grapefruit peel for longer storage. Store dried peel in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

Other Ways to Use Grapefruit Peel

Aside from making tea, you can use grapefruit peel in several other ways:

  • Add it to smoothies for extra fiber and nutrients.
  • Make infused water by steeping peel in cold water overnight.
  • Simmer peel in coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to make an antioxidant-rich cooking oil.
  • Make candied grapefruit peel by boiling the peel in sugar syrup.
  • Use peel in recipes instead of just the grapefruit juice or flesh.

As you can see, grapefruit peel has many uses beyond just making tea. Take advantage of the entire grapefruit by finding creative ways to use the peel as well.

The Bottom Line

Boiling grapefruit peel to make tea or extract the nutrients is generally safe when done carefully. Grapefruit peel is high in beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants that provide several health benefits.

However, grapefruit peel may contain pesticides, so wash it thoroughly before using. It also contains substances that can interact with certain medications, so check with your doctor if you take any prescriptions.

Boil fresh or frozen grapefruit peel in hot water for 10–15 minutes to extract the nutrients and make a nourishing citrus tea. Start with a mild peach-to-water ratio and increase the amount of peel for stronger flavor.

Enjoy grapefruit peel tea warm or chilled. Just be mindful of any medication interactions and potential side effects when drinking grapefruit peel tea or using grapefruit peel in recipes.

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