Is Grapefruit Skin Good For You?

Grapefruit is a popular citrus fruit known for its juicy and tart flavor. While most people discard the skin when eating a grapefruit, recent research has shown that grapefruit skin may, in fact, have health benefits. In this article, we will explore whether grapefruit skin is good for you and the best way to peel a grapefruit to get the most out of its nutrients.

What Are The Benefits Of Grapefruit Skin?

What Are The Benefits Of Grapefruit Skin?

Grapefruit skin, otherwise known as the peel or zest, is a rich source of nutrients and bioactive compounds that offer a range of health benefits. 

It contains high amounts of antioxidants such as flavonoids, limonoids, and vitamin C, which help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. 

Additionally, it has a good amount of dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health and reduces the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

It’s also antibacterial, so is useful for including in homemade cleaning products. 

Studies have shown that grapefruit peel extracts exhibit anti-cancer properties due to the presence of bioactive compounds such as limonene and naringin. 

Other potential health benefits include improved skin health, cholesterol management, and blood sugar control.

It is, however, important to note that the consumption of grapefruit peel may also pose some risks as it contains essential oils that may have adverse effects on some people, including skin irritation or allergic reactions. 

The skin of grapefruits that are not organically grown may also contain pesticide residues or other contaminants, so where possible, try to use organic grapefruit.

What Is The Best Way Of Peeling A Grapefruit?

There are various tools you can use to peel a grapefruit, but I think the best way is to simply use a small sharp paring knife.

  1. Choose a ripe grapefruit that feels heavy for its size and has slightly soft but not squishy skin.
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit with your sharp knife, just enough to expose the flesh inside.
  3. Place the grapefruit on one of the cut ends to stabilize it.
  4. Starting at the top of the grapefruit, make several vertical cuts just through the peel. Follow the curve of the fruit, and work your way all around.
  5. Next, use your fingers to gently pry the peel away from the flesh, pulling it down towards the bottom of the grapefruit.
  6. Continue doing this right around the grapefruit, removing all remaining pieces of peel and pith.
  7. Once all of the peel and pith have been removed, the grapefruit can easily be segmented by cutting along the membranes that separate each section.

Note: Some people prefer to cut the grapefruit into sections and then remove the peel and pith individually from the sections.

Should You Eat The Skin On Grapefruit?

Should You Eat The Skin On Grapefruit?

While grapefruit skin can be consumed, it may have a bitter taste and tough texture. There are some ways to prepare grapefruit skin to make it more suitable for consumption:

Candied grapefruit peel

  1. Cut the peel of the grapefruit into thin strips and boil them in water for about 10 minutes. This will help to remove any bitterness. 
  2. Drain the water and simmer the strips in a simple syrup made with sugar and water until the syrup thickens and the peels become translucent. 
  3. Allow the peels to dry on a wire rack, then toss them in granulated sugar.
  4. Once fully dry, put them into a sterilized, airtight container where they will keep for several months. It is great for use in fruit cakes or as decoration for various sweet or savory dishes.

Grapefruit zest

Use a fine grater or a zester to remove the colored outer layer of the grapefruit peel. The zest can be used to add delicious, sharp citrus flavors to baked goods, dressings, and marinades.

Grapefruit peel powder

  1. Cut your grapefruit peel into small pieces, and first, making sure it is dry, place it into a dehydrator on a medium setting so the peel is completely dry and brittle. 
  2. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can put them into a very low oven overnight. 
  3. Using an electric coffee grinder, grind your peel until it has turned into a fine powder. This can be used as an additive in recipes that require citrus added to them like a spice, or it can be added to smoothies.
  4.  Another common use is in homemade skincare products.  

Grapefruit-infused oil

Combine the sliced peel from several grapefruits with a jar of olive oil. Allow it to sit for several days to infuse the oil with flavor. 

The infused oil can be used for cooking, salad dressings, or as a finishing oil for roasted vegetables or grilled fish.

In this video, discover more about the beneficial qualities of grapefruit skin:

What Can You Do With Grapefruit Rinds?

Here is a list of more ideas for things you can do with grapefruit rinds:

  • Grapefruit-infused water: The fresh rinds can be added to a water pitcher and left to infuse covered in the refrigerator for several hours. Very refreshing!
  • Grapefruit vinegar: Cut fresh rinds into thin slices and combine them with vinegar to make it grapefruit-infused. This is delicious when used in salad dressings or marinades.
  • Grapefruit liqueur: By steeping the freshly sliced rinds in vodka or another high-proof alcohol, you can create a grapefruit-flavored liqueur.
  • Grapefruit zest sugar: Zest a grapefruit and mix the zest with sugar. This can be used to sweeten tea or baked goods.
  • Grapefruit potpourri: Use dried grapefruit rinds to add to potpourri blends to give them a lovely fresh citrus scent.
  • Grapefruit bath salts: Combine very thinly minced grapefruit rinds with Epsom salts to create a grapefruit-scented bath soak.

Is Drinking Boiled Grapefruit Peel Good For You?

Boiled grapefruit peel can be good for you when drunk as a kind of tea. It contains a range of nutrients, such as vitamins and antioxidants. The peel also contains certain compounds like naringin and limonene, which have been linked to several health benefits.

  1. To prepare boiled grapefruit peel, start by washing the grapefruit thoroughly and removing any stickers or labels. 
  2. Then, use a sharp knife to carefully remove the peel from the grapefruit, ensuring you avoid the bitter white pith. 
  3. Cut the peel into small pieces and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them. 
  4. Bring the water to a boil and let the grapefruit peel simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 
  5. Carefully pour into a heatproof cup.
  6. You can add honey or other sweeteners to improve the taste if desired.

Drinking boiled grapefruit peel tea helps to boost your immune system, improve digestion, and support heart health. 

Note that grapefruit peel can interact with certain medications, so if you are taking any medication, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before consuming boiled grapefruit peel tea.


In summary, the skin of grapefruits is a nutritious and beneficial part of the fruit that may provide a range of useful health benefits. However, it is important to consume it in moderation and ensure that it is obtained from a safe and reliable source in order to minimize your exposure to pesticides. 

Find more articles about grapefruit and growing grapefruit trees on our website.

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