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Candied citrus peel

A great way to turn trash into treasure. Homemade, candied peel is infinitely more delicious than store bought varieties. This recipe is perfect to add to homemade fruit cakes or to be enjoyed as a sweet and sour, zesty treat.

Many types of citrus are suitable for candying. Lemons, oranges, clementines, limes, tangerines and grapefruit work very well. If you have come across more unusual varieties of fruit such as kumquats, tangelos or citron, they are also fantastic when candied.

Candied peel is best made when citrus is freshest and in season. Choose unsprayed organic fruit, it makes a huge difference to the flavour and quality of your final product.

Save up peels from fruit you have juiced, or eaten. The peel can be kept in the fridge for several days before being candied. You can also freeze them until you have enough to make a candied batch.

Candied citrus peel from Nourish by Jane Clarke

Recipe created by Nourish cook and Dietitian, Clare Gray

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approximately 1 hour

Ingredients
Approximately 14 unsprayed clementine peels (or other citrus peels)
330g golden caster sugar (plus approximately 100g more for dusting)
325ml water

Method

  • First, blanch the peel to remove the bitterness from the pith and make the peel more tender by placing the peel in a large saucepan and fill with cold water. 
  • Place over a medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil for about 3 minutes.
  • Drain the peel into a colander and then place into bowl of cold water for several minutes. 
  • The texture and bitterness of citrus peel varies even within the same variety of fruit. I recommend you repeat the process of blanching and cooling several times. For thinner skinned citrus such as clementines and tangerines, do this twice. For oranges or lemons do this 4 times and for grapefruit, 6 times.
  • After the final blanching, use a small pairing knife to remove the soft pulpy pith and any excess fruit that is remaining on the peel.
  • It's easiest to slice the blanched citrus peel in 2 halves first. then slice the peel into thin strips or segments.
  • Place the peel, sugar and water in a medium heavy based saucepan.
  • Place over a medium heat and stir to combine the sugar and water.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer. Avoid stirring the syrup. 
  • Cook until the peel is translucent which takes approximately 30-50 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the peel from the syrup. 
  • Spread the peel out on a cooling rack with parchment or a baking sheet underneath to collect any excess syrup. The peel should be spread in one layer and each piece should be separated and not touching. 
  • Allow to cool and dry out overnight.
  • Place the remaining caster sugar in a bowl and toss each piece of peel in it until it is evenly coated in sugar.

Tips
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several months.

If using kumquats in this recipe, slice the whole kumquat into small discs about 2mm thick and remove the pits. They are much more delicate than other citrus in terms of their size so they will take less time to cook.

As an alternative to dusting your candied peel, it can be stored in the cooled cooking syrup. If you aren’t using the syrup to store the peel, don’t discard it. It can be used as a flavouring to add to ice cream or frozen yoghurts. You could also drizzle it over a cake or use it to sweeten sparkling water.


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