candied citrus peels
With all the chocolate and cookies being passed around this holiday season, I thought it might be refreshing to mix it with a bit of citrus. Martha’s magazine was filled with a bunch of recipe I intended to make this year, but this one for candied citrus peels was the only one I got to; which is funny considering my not-so-great adventure with candied ginger earlier this month.
You can use whatever citrus fruit you’d like, but I chose limes and lemons because they’re my favorite. The first round of peeling the fruit isn’t so bad if you do it correctly by making a bunch of slits from end to end and then peel it away. The next round gets to be a bit of a hassle because you have to manage to separate the pith from the peel, which isn’t the easiest thing. I did the best I could, but still managed to have a little white on each piece.
Now the easy part comes when you don’t have to do anything plus you get a bonus byproduct. After rinsing the fruit peels in boiling water a few times, you just let them soak in sugar water for an hour or so until they’re translucent. Once they’ve reached that point you let them cool in the syrup. Once properly cooled, you’ve got yourself four cups of citrusy simple syrup (I’m still working on a tasty happy hour to use it in). Now all you’ve got to do is roll the peels in sugar and shazam, you’ve got lovely citrus peels.
These turned out better and believe it or not were easier than the candied ginger. They taste kind of like fresh, sugared gummy candies. The biggest downfall is they take a lot of time and don’t produce a ton candy, perhaps 2 cups. But I always think it’s good to try something like this to see just what it takes to make it.
Candied Citrus Peels
2 grapefruits, 3 oranges, or 4 lemons*
4 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
4 cups water
Using a paring knife, make 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each citrus fruit, cutting through peel but not into fruit. Using your fingers, gently remove peel. Reserve fruit for another use. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Using a paring knife, remove excess pith from each strip and discard.
Place strips in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice.
Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Add strips to boiling syrup, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until strips are translucent, about 1 hour. Remove from heat, and let strips cool in syrup. (Strips in syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.)
Using a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Wipe off excess syrup with paper towels, then roll strips in sugar. Arrange in a single layer on a wire rack, and let dry for at least 30 minutes. Sugared peels will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.
* I used 3 lemons and 3 limes. I think you could even use more fruit, it just depends on how many you feel like peeling.