I saw this recipe for candied citrus peel last year in Sunset magazine and REALLY wanted to make it…but just never found the time. I guess it was one of “those” holiday seasons. This year, I find myself looking for work in a new city, cooking and baking a lot when I’ve become overloaded with job applications. Ok, it doesn’t take me that much to get overloaded with that…But I don’t have the cash for extravagant gifts this year, so instead I am going the homemade route…
Candied Citrus Peel! It’s super easy to make, a little labor intensive, and definitely a process that takes time. Kind of like homemade Limoncello, but you just have to wait a day or so for your peels to be ready instead of weeks! The result here is SUPER worth it, I must say. It’s like candy you don’t even feel guilty about eating, because A.) You made it B.) We are eating citrus peels, how weird and healthy and fibrous must that be? and C.) It’s totally natural, and tastes so pure and wonderful compared to those citrus gummies you get at the store.
And can we talk about how they are so great by themselves, but they have so many other uses? You can dip half of the peels in chocolate if you really want to go crazy, you can put them in cocktail (like your homemade limoncello), you end up with leftover simple syrup for pancakes or cocktails…And just you wait for the cocktail I am going to show you later using all of the leftover juice from the oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits…
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous that these weren’t going to be worth the time and labor, but holy crap I will make these year after year they are so good. They have been a huge hit with everyone who has tried them!
Candied Citrus Peel
adapted from Sunset Magazine
makes about 4 1/2 cups
- 3 grapefruits
- 3 limes
- 3 lemons
- 3 oranges (we actually used mandarins because it was what we had on hand)
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling/dusting
- Score grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes through peel from top to bottom in sections (don’t cut into fruit.) Pull off strips of peel with your fingers. Slide a small, sharp knife along inside of peels to remove excess membrane so peels are about 1/4 in. thick. Cut peels lengthwise into strips about 1/2 in. wide in center and tapered on ends.
- Put peels in a pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice more. Don’t skip this step, it helps remove the bitterness from your peels.
- Refill pan with 4 cups water and 4 cups sugar; bring to a boil, making sure that sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until peels turn translucent and syrup begins to form bigger bubbles, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Drain peels, saving syrup for other uses (such as topping for pancakes or simple syrup for cocktails) if you like. Spread peels on a nonreactive cooling rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let peels dry overnight.
- Put about 1 cup sugar in a bowl and toss peels in sugar by the handful, shaking off excess. Put peels on a clean baking sheet and let them dry 1 more day.
Make ahead: Up to 3 months, chilled airtight.