If you’ve only tasted commercial candied citrus peels, you are in for a surprise. Homemade candied citrus peels are delicious.
These taste better than store-bought. You can make candied orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and even clementine peels! They taste great by themselves, as something to nibble with a sip of tea or coffee, or as mix-in for yogurt or other snacks like trail mix.
If you bake, you know how the tiniest bits of citrus zest pack big flavor. Now you can make that zest into a treat all on its own. Biting into a slice of tangy orange and tart lemon soaked with sugar syrup is like a grown-up version of gummy bears.
I learned to love making candied citrus from this recipe by Kimberly Killebrew at www.daringgourmet.com. This version has a few changes. It works when you have smaller batches of peels saved from clementines, lemons and oranges, limes – even grapefruit. And this recipe kicks up the zing with a touch of citric acid with the white sugar during the coating stage. Enjoy.
Candied Citrus Peels: Clementines, Lemons, Limes
Strips of orange, lemon, clementine and lime make this delightful tangy citrus treats.
2 1/4cupswhite sugarDivide into 1 1/2 cups and 3/4 cups in separate containers
2teaspoonscitric acidAvailable with canning supplies and in some supermarkets
If you want neat-looking strips, slice the fruit skin before peeling it.
Cut through the skin of the fruit from top to bottom (without cutting the fruit itself), so you can peel it in sections. You end up with oval-like shapes of peel with pointy ends. Slice the peels into strips about 1/4 inch wide.
If you have torn pieces of peel, slice along the longest direction. Whether you cook all the peels or just the neatly sliced ones is up to you.
Place sliced peels in a pot, and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and boil the peels gently for about 5 minutes.
Drain, and repeat one more time. This helps remove unwanted bitterness and retain the citrus flavor.
Add 1 cup water to the cooked peels with 1 1/2 cups of sugar. return to a boil, uncovered.
Stir occasionally as the liquid thickens into a syrup. Stir constantly during the last several minutes of cooking to prevent scorching.
Combine 3/4 cup white sugar and 2 teaspoons citric acid in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
After about 45-50 minutes the syrup will reduce to form a soft ball when a drop cools on a plate. A candy thermometer will read 235° F.
It's time to remove the peels from the syrup.
Using a fork or wire scoop, lift the hot peels out of the syrup, letting excess syrup run off.
Transfer a batch of the peels into your bowl of sugar and citric acid. Toss to coat. Flatten any peels that have folded over on themselves to coat every part with the sugar/citric acid mixture. Work in batches until all the peels are coated.
Spread the candied peels in a single layer on a cookie sheet to cool completely. It's okay if they're touching while they cool.
Store in an airtight container.
Use fresh peels that have a pleasantly chewy texture. Some fruits with dehydrated peels or tough skins will stay that way even after cooking. The texture you start with is the texture you end up with, even after boiling in sugar syrup.
Smaller chunks (as small as half an inch) and those with torn edges hold up and taste the same as those neatly trimmed on both sides. I use them all. The choice is yours.
About 1 cup of saved peels becomes about 2 cups of sliced peels.
These also add great flavor to horse treats if you make those too.