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Making Candied Fruit Peel

After making candied citron twice, I found making candied orange and lemon peel easier. (I’ll share the recipe for candied citron in another post.) It’s not hard, it just takes some time. I made the candied orange peel and lemon peel in an afternoon. It needs to dry overnight and then it ready for use the next day.

The recipe:

6 thick-skinned navel oranges (or 10-12 thick-skinned lemons)

3 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 cups water

I don’t usually use corn syrup, however I discovered that it prevents the peel from crystallizing and helps it remain moist.

Here’s what you do – the process is the same for oranges or lemons:

Cut the ends off the oranges and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. It’s now easy to peel off the skin and pith. Use the oranges for another recipe. (I ended up juicing them for vinaigrette and for a cake.)

Cut the peel into strips 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel strips in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Then drain the water and repeat two more times. Blanching the peel three times removes the bitterness.

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Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to the pot with the peel. On low heat stir the sugar to dissolve. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer without stirring. Stirring can introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. Swirl the pan to move the peels around. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the peel is translucent and the syrup is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for about 5 minutes – so it stops boiling.

Put a colander in a large bowl in the sink. Pour the peels and syrup into the colander. This way you can save the syrup for other uses (iced tea, baking, etc.). The peels are very hot.

Cover cooling racks with wax paper. Use tongs to spread the peel out on the racks.

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Allow to dry overnight and then prepare. For the mincemeat recipe, I cut the peel into small pieces – weighing out 1 pound each.

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Because I had candied peel left over from what was needed for the mincemeat, I made chocolate covered orange and lemon peel. Super delicious. It’s worth making just for this!

I melted dark semi-sweet chocolate pieces in a glass cup measure in the microwave – easier than using a double boiler. However, you need to heat the chocolate 15-20 seconds at a time and stir so it doesn’t get too hot.  I did re-heat the chocolate a couple times along the way.  Dip the orange or lemon peel in the chocolate and lay on cookie sheets covered with wax paper.  Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so.

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Line a container with wax paper and fill with a single layer of chocolate covered peels, put wax paper over the peels and place another layer of peels, repeat – between layers of wax paper.  Cover the container and store in the refrigerator.  Keeps for several months – if they don’t get eaten before that!  Enjoy!