Citrus season is here, so it’s the perfect time to make these delicious old-fashioned homemade treats. Candied citrus peels are easy to make and can be made from any citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, tangerines, mandarins, or grapefruits. Just make sure you are using organic fruits that have not been sprayed with chemicals. Candied peels are sweet with orangey bitterness and can be served plain or dipped in chocolate. They make a good snack, a treat, or a gift. They are also used chopped up in cakes, pies, and bread. The skins of all fruits and vegetables are very nutritious. Even citrus peels have more vitamin C than the actual pulp.
2-3 citrus fruit of your choice
3+ cups of granulated sugar
The citrus peels can be saved throughout the year and stored in the freezer in a plastic bag until you saved up enough to be candied. Select a citrus fruit with thick skin so the white layer of pith is easier to remove. When peeling citrus, divide it into neat quarter segments so they are easily cut into strips for candying. Orange peel, lemon, and grapefruit peels can all be used for this process.
Tip: Avoid cooking a variety of citrus together since they will not tenderize at the same time.
Using a sharp knife, cut fresh or saved citrus peels into even ¼ inch strips and cut away as much pith and membrane as possible, which is the bitter part of the rind.
Put strips of citrus peel into a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes, drain and repeat the process two more times. This blanching process removes the bitterness. You can save the cooking water from the first batch and turn it into simple syrup while following a recipe here. Simple syrup is great for flavoring iced tea and cocktails.
In the last cooking batch, add two cups of water with 2 cups of sugar and gently simmer until the peels are soft and translucent but not so soft that they start disintegrating. The cooking time depends on the amount of peels but could be anywhere from 30 min to 3 hours. Strain the peels and set them aside to dry a little bit.
When the peels have dried a little and are cool enough to handle, use tongs to roll each slice in a bowl of granulated sugar and set them on a parchment sheet or plate to dry for up to 2-3 days.
Once dried, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or the freezer. They will dry and harden as they age. (This is just the way I like them, and so will you if you like hard and chewy gummy bears candy).
Enjoy and share!
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