The secret to supreming?
Arrgghhh... so frustrating! Just thinking the word 'supreme' is frustrating me right now and to never hear "I Hear a Symphony" again without frustration is just not an option! ;-) I've watched people do it, I've attempted it before, but I think this Saturday was the ultimate in frustration. I was trying to supreme two oranges and two ruby red grapefruits for a citrus salad and a half hour later, I had citrus coleslaw!! Is there a secret to it? Or does practice just make perfection? Do you peel your citrus as if you were going to eat it and then proceed with the supreming? Or do you slice the peel off the top and bottoms and then down the sides and then proceed from there? Is there any hope?
I slice the top and bottom off the grapefruit, then down the sides to remove the peel and pith. Then, I use a knife to cut down one side of the pulp section along the membrane, and then twist the knife so that the entire pulp section comes off the other side of the membrane 'naturally'. I don't make 2 cuts to release the pulp section. The grapefruit sections never fall apart. HTH.
I think I've been particularly lucky with supreming. I remove the peel with a knive so that the pith is removed along with the peel. Then, I continue with removing the segments. You definitely do lose alot of fruit with supreming though. I does seem a little wasteful. Just keep practicing.
"you definitely do lose alot of fruit"
I think you've got the tip right there - know that you will lose alot of fruit and be OK with that before you start. Trying to get every last bit will make you crazy. Yes, I'm sure that there are folks with excellent knife skills who leave little but the membrance, but you have to start somewhere and if you start out looking for perfection in both the supremes and the leavings you'll just give up!
Sacrifice some flesh when you remove the skin and sacrifice more when you extract the segments. You'll wind up with nice looking supremes and be happy enough with your result that you'll be willing to take the task on again. Over time, you'll leave less fruit behind.
And be sure to juice the leavings so that you can make a dressing or even just add to a glass of sparkling water if you can't use it in your recipe - then it will feel less wastedful.
I slice the peel off the top and bottom, then down and "around" the sides. Then I take a sharp paring knife, and slice as close as I can to the wall/membrane separating each "supreme" and work my way around. It does take some practice, and each time I do it it takes a couple of slices to get in the rhythm.
Katie Nell, your paring knife must be sharp, first of all. It does take a bit of practice.
One tip: When making the first cut into a segment, cut against the membrane at the bottom of the segment (when facing you) and twist the knife upwards (and AWAY from you) against the membrane at the top. It also tends to work best when you hold the fruit in one hand and cut with the other, rather than keeping the fruit on a cutting board.
I agree with the other posters that it is best to top and tail the grapefruit/orange, then cut off the peel and pith with a knife.