Monday, December 10, 2018

How to Make Candied Orange Peel at Home

Everyone loves eating fresh oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and grapefruit, but did you know that some of the most concentrated flavor in citrus is actually in the peel? Citrus peel is also extremely nutritious, containing many vital phytonutrients. Though some recipes call for citrus zest or peel, we most often just throw it away.

Since I eat so many citrus fruit in season (sometimes we may go through 8 in a day!), I have spent some time thinking about all those discarded peels. One of my favorite uses, especially as the holiday roll around, is making candied orange peel. It’s super fresh orange gummy bears, but better!

Note that there’s no need to peel citrus just for this use. When we’re eating a lot of citrus and I know I’ll have time to make these, I just remove peels the way this recipe indicates. You can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days until you’re ready to proceed.

For this recipe, you want citrus with thicker, easy-peeling skin. Navels are a great choice. Tangelos or tangerines could also work. Avoid thin-skinned, hard-to-peel varieties.

You can also use grapefruit for this recipe, though you’ll want to go through the boil/discard water step a couple more times to cut down on bitterness.

A note on quantities: this recipe can easily be scaled up or down. The syrup proportions are simply 1:1 sugar to water. When coating with finished peels with sugar, just use as much as seems necessary.

4 medium/large oranges
2 ½ cups sugar, divided
2 cups water (plus water for boiling)
Chocolate chips, as desired, for coating (optional)

  1. First, cut the top and bottom off 4 medium-sized fruit. There’s no need to cut a lot off here—you just don’t want the very ends.

  2. Next, score the fruit in quarters lengthwise. If the orange were a globe, this would be along its “longitudes,” not the equator. Go pretty deep with a sharp knife, till you feel the blade hitting up against the orange flesh.

  3. At this point, you should be able to gently remove the peel in 4 neat sections. Don’t worry about the white pith—its pectin lends chewy texture to the finished product.
  4. Now cut the quartered peel into strips. I like them about ¼ thick, but some prefer thinner, more like 1/8”.

  5. Put your sliced peel into a pot and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, cover with fresh cold water, boil 5 minutes, and drain. Repeat the process one more time and drain.
  6. Combine two cups of granulated white sugar with two cups of water in the same pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add the peel. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. (pic 6) Simmer gently for approximately 45-60 minutes or until peel is translucent. The pith should no longer appear white, but instead saturated with syrup. However, be careful not to overcook it such that the peel begins to break apart.
  7. Remove peel with a slotted spoon to a wire cooling rack. I put my cooling rack over a cookie sheet lined with tin foil to make cleanup easier. Allow the peel to cool just enough to handle (they need to still be “tacky”), then roll them in the remaining ½ cup sugar. (Note: the remaining sugar water is an orange-flavored syrup now. Don’t throw it away! It is excellent in tea or mixed drinks, can be poured on cakes, and will keep well in the fridge.)

  8. Leave the sugared peel out to dry for at least 4-6 hours or overnight, then store in an airtight container in a dry place at room temperature. Candied peel will keep for several months. (pic 10)
  9. Enjoy eating, gifting, or cooking and baking with your delicious candied peel!
  10. To coat your candied peel in chocolate and make a true orangette, wait till your peel has dried overnight. Then melt some chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave. For a traditional appearance, dip in only one end. Let dry on a wire cooling rack. Store separately from peel that has not been chocolate-dipped. Orangettes do not keep as long and should be eaten within a week or two.

Many wonderful recipes using candied orange peel are available on the Florida Fruit Shippers Pinterest Page, specifically on our Citrus Desserts and Rise-n-Shine with Citrus pages.

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