We all have our faults. Every winter I feel guilty for not utilizing my orange and meyer lemon trees to their full potential. Two years ago I attempted orange marmalade and it turned out a thick gluey mess. Last year, I focused on juicing as much as I could stand to drink. We had extremely high levels of vitamin C for a good solid month … no scurvy here.
The orange tree is nearly 15′ tall, so it produces hundreds of oranges. I picked bowl after bowl of fruit and took it to work and went door to door in my neighborhood (like a madman). This year I want to do better by my trees. Tonight is my first step toward being a better fruit tree owner.
We took a road trip today down to Carmel to get out of the house. The day was beautiful and Carmel was relaxing, but all I could think about was how I would attempt making candied orange and lemon peel. After dinner, I rushed Joe home so I could begin whipping up a frenzy in the kitchen. He often hides in the office so as not to see the wicked mess that unfolds.
There were many recipes on how to make candied orange peel, and nearly all of them call for a ratio of 2/1 for sugar to water. I felt extra playful and decided to make 1 pot of orange peels and a 2nd pot of lemon peels. I love candied ginger, so I peeled/cut what I had and added it to the pot containing the orange peels.
Candied fruit peel
aka. orangettes, lemonettes(?), gingerettes(?)
4 oranges or 6 lemons
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
I cut off the top and bottom of the orange then used a sharp knife to cut downward and remove the peel. To remove the majority of white pith, I used a teaspoon to scrape each peel. Cut each peel into 1/4 inch strips.
Place peels into a pan of cold water and add salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain water. Rinse peels in cold water, then cover with cold water and bring to a boil once again and simmer for 20 minutes. Complete 3 cycles of this process. This will help to soften the peels and reduce the bitterness.
After draining for the 3rd time, set peels aside. Add sugar and water to pot and bring to a boil. Add peels back into the pot and bring to a boil once again. Simmer uncovered for about 40-45 minutes. Do not stir — it will cause the syrup to crystallize. Be careful to watch the pot around the 35th minute or so. The syrup will begin to reduce quickly and you don’t want to scorch the peels. Cook until the peels become translucent — mine went for 40 minutes.
Pour peels into a metal colander to drain. Next, place peels onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and use a fork to separate the pieces so they do not touch one another. Leave on the counter to cool and dry out, about 4-5 hours, or overnight.
At this point you have a couple options. You can roll the peels in granulated sugar (as I did) or you can coat them with chocolate for a wonderful little confection. Either way, you should store them in an airtight container. You can chop them up to use in baking, but I think they would make perfect little dippers for a chocolate fondue — yum!
Oh, I should mention that the ginger turned out pretty good. I was worried since the recipes for candied ginger show it to be a much longer process. Mine turned out somewhat tough (since it only cooked for about 1.5 hours), but it still tasted dang good.
Crap, it’s after midnight. Joe is watching a movie and I promised not to be too long. Will publish this post for now — nighty night!