A great way to use up the peels of most citrus fruits is to candy them for a delicious treat. Like a gumdrop, this confection’s juicy interior complements the crunch of the crystalized sugar on the outside. Packaged up, it would make a very sweet gift! As a bonus, the syrup used in the final stage can be bottled up as a citrus-infused simple syrup for cocktails too. Who would have thought that you could make two amazing things out of something you would normally throw away?
Candied Citrus Peels
Yield: 2 cups
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
3 medium-sized citrus fruits* (i.e. a combination of 1 navel orange, 1 meyer lemon, and 1 pink grapefruit)
3 c. water
3 c. + 3/4 c. sugar
1) Cut each citrus fruit in half from the stem to blossom end. Using a spoon, scoop out he interior (and save it for a fruit salad or smoothie).
2) Cut the peels into 1/2 inch wide pieces.
3) Place in a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and drain right away. Repeat four more times, using fresh water each time. Once complete, drain. This process will remove the bitter taste from the peels.
4) In a large saucepan, bring 3 c. sugar and 3 c. water to a boil.
5) Add the peels, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes (or until soft).
6) Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from liquid and dry on a wire cooling rack for 2 hours. NOTE: You can make a second item out of this by saving the liquid as a simple syrup!
7) Toss each piece in a bowl containing 3/4 c.sugar and dry on a wire cooling rack for 4 hours.
8) Store in a breathable container, such as a box, and leave at room temperature in a dry place.
*Chef’s Note: Avoid using thinner skinned fruits, such as limes, as their flavor and coloring will not hold up to the candying process. Choose citrus fruits with thick peels, such as navel oranges, meyer lemons, and pink grapefruit.
Play up the candy idea by packaging the candied citrus peels in a unique container, such as a mini candy bin (available at The Container Store). Avoid storing the peels in an airtight enclosure, as the moisture from the citrus peel will “melt” the exterior crunchy sugar coating.