Citrus season is truly here in California and between my tree and my father-in-law's tree we have an abundance of freshness. Everyday we are eating oranges in some form or another and that leaves us with lots of juicy peel. Time to make candied orange peel - yum! Eaten by itself it is a grownup version of Sour Patch Kids and just like the candy of my youth I can't stop eating them. If you don't eat them all first, the candied peels make a zesty addition to baking - brownies, cake, cookies - what's not to love?
Candied orange peel is super easy to make. I use a recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, adding a few tweaks for good measure. I like to let my peel air dry overnight and then trim away the white pith on the next day. It is just easier to work with once it is less moist. This step is not essential if you are in a hurry.
You boil the trim twice. First, boil in plain water to soften the peel. Second, boil in a sugar syrup. The peel is removed and left to rest on a wire rack for about an hour. Then the moist peel is tossed in granulated sugar. Make sure to save the remaining sugar syrup, it is perfect in a cocktail, on top of ice cream, in a cup of tea - you get the picture - and you know how I feel about waste.
Once completely dry these candy gems can be stored in an air tight container for a good while. In my house that does not mean very long as we eat them up pretty fast. Enjoy!
Candied Orange Peel
A recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
peel from 6 or 7 oranges depending on size
2 cups of granulated sugar
Slice off the orange ends and the remove the peel with a knife following the curve of the fruit. Don't worry too much about the perfection of the peel slices as that all works out in the end.
If possible leave the fresh peel to air dry on a cloth overnight.
On the next day trim away some of the white pith and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
Cover peel with water in a large saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove peel from sauce pan and save 1 cup of cooking liquid. Lay peel in a single layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, letting the peel rest and drain for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of cooking liquid back to your saucepan with 1 cup of sugar. Over a high heat bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Once sugar is dissolved add the peel and boil until peel turns translucent and the syrup thickens. It takes about 10 minutes but it is not rocket science and times can vary.
With a slotted spoon place peel on a wire rack to dry for 1 hour. Make sure to save the syrup!!
Toss peels in sugar, fully coating the slices.
Leave on clean baking pan and wire rack to completely dry. You can eat them at this point but for storing they need to lose some more moisture. Depending on the humidity in your area this can be as much as overnight.
Makes about 3 cups.
Note. There will be extra sugar! Just throw it in your airtight container with the peel. Orange flavored sugar is also great for decorating baked goods and used in beverages.