You Haven't Had A Candied Treat Quite Like This Before

Candied orange peels, a simultaneously sweet and sour snack that leaves no wasted fruit behind, is so celebrated that the treat has its own holiday: May 4. Recipe developer, blogger, and food photographer Jennine Bryant remembers receiving the tasty and festive fruit as a gift from her uncle each Christmas. She's not the only one with sugared-fruit memories either. Candied peels are a popular holiday food favorite, and are often added to fruitcake, Italian Panettone, and other dessert breads, or even sometimes dipped in chocolate.

Using honey and sugar to preserve fruit goes back to ancient civilizations, including the Egyptian, Roman, and Mesopotamian cultures, with candied peels gracing banquet tables sometime in the Middle Ages. The secret to making this recipe is sugar ... and more sugar — first boiling the peels in sweetened water before tossing them in even more granules. 

"By replacing the fruit's natural water content with a highly concentrated sugar syrup, the fruit could be preserved for up to a year," said Bryant. After that, the peel can get dry and tough.

You can use different kinds of fruit peels with this recipe, too. It works well with lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc. Candied peels only take about an hour to cook, but it does require a day of drying time before you can eat your efforts. So plan accordingly.

A few simple ingredients ... almost no shopping needed

You can probably make candied orange peels today, if you wanted. The few ingredients — just 2 large oranges, 1 and a ½ cups of sugar, and a cup of water — reside in most kitchens. Be sure the fruit used is firm and fresh, whether you choose traditional oranges, Mandarins, Valencia, or even blood versions. In fact, recipe developer Jennine Bryant used blood oranges in the following preparation photos. "I had some in the house to bake a cake with, but didn't need the peel," she confessed. Candied fruit peels encourage a no-waste philosophy.

Don't waste fruit skin, peel and candy it

Candied orange peels embrace environmentalism since the dish provides a perfect way to use up all those unwanted peels rather than just discarding them in the trash. Don't just peel the orange and take that skin though, your sweet will have more standardized strips if you use a peeler to remove the exterior. Be careful to secure the top of the instrument with your fingers, applying a slight pressure to keep it steady and then carve away from yourself creating thin, even strips. Then cut the peeled rinds into roughly ¼-inch slices.

Boil, simmer, and sugar the peels

Place the orange peel strips you've cut into a saucepan, fill it with water (about a ¼ full) and heat it until the water starts to boil. Then pour the contents into a strainer, catching your orange peels. Next, rinse the peels with cold water. This is an essential step — you don't want to skip it because the cool water removes any remaining bitterness from the fruit. 

In the same pan, add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to make a syrup. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the orange peel and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes until it is see-through. Turn off the pan and let the orange peel cool in the syrup.

Let the peels cool and drip dry for an hour

Once the peel is cool to touch, take a slotted spoon and transfer the orange peel to a rack. Making candied fruit can be messy so set everything up over a parchment paper-coated pan to catch the frequent drips of syrup. Then when clean-up time arrives, you can carry the sodden papers easily to the garbage.

First, though, the orange peels should sit there for an hour. When they no longer drip, set up another tray, add a ½ cup sugar on it and you can begin the final stages of creating candied orange peels.

Coat the orange peels in sugar

Put the orange peel in the sugar a few pieces at a time and roll each one until it is coated. Warning: this stage will be very sticky so prepare your final drying racks with parchment paper underneath (this time to catch any extra sugar) beforehand and keep them close. 

Once all strips are sugared, leave them to air dry for a day. When the orange peels are dry and not sticky to the touch, the candied treat is ready for consumption. Keep in mind that the humidity in a room can change the drying time, but you can check every now and then to see how the peels are drying.

You Haven't Had A Candied Treat Quite Like This Before
5 from 9 ratings
Don't throw out those orange peels, make candy with them! Candied orange peels are incredibly easy to make and full of mouth-puckering sweet and sour flavor.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
3
Servings
candied orange peel in bowl
Ready in 80 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup sugar + ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
Directions
  1. Using a peeler, peel the skin off both oranges and then cut the rind into roughly ¼-inch slices.
  2. Place the strips of orange peel into a saucepan, fill ¼ full with water and allow to heat on the stove. When the water starts to boil, pour the contents out through a strainer to catch the orange peel, rinse with cold water.
  3. In the same pan, add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to make a syrup. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the orange peel and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes until the orange peel is see-through. Turn off the pan and let the orange peel cool in the syrup.
  4. Once the peel is cool, using a slotted spoon transfer the orange peel to a cooling rack set up over a parchment paper coated pan to catch the drips of syrup.
  5. Let the orange peel drip for an hour. Then, set up a tray and add the ½ cup sugar to the tray.
  6. Put the orange peel in the sugar a few pieces at a time and roll each one so it's coated in sugar. This stage will be very sticky!
  7. Leave to air dry for a day and enjoy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 315
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 81.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Total Sugars 78.0 g
Sodium 3.8 mg
Protein 1.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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