DON’T throw away the peels from the citrus fruit you squeeze for your everyday juice. IT’S A SIN!
ingredients for a jar of candied peels (total cost about 2€ with organic sugars)
- 600 g peels from organic citrus fruit (weighed after blanching and straining them)
- 900 g water
- 450 g sugar
- Extra sugar for coating (optional)
I will NOT stop shouting this. Candied citrus fruit peels are delicious and eye catching! Eat them as they are, deep them in chocolate or use them to aromatize and decorate other desserts! Cookies, cakes, creams and various desserts are brought to another level, both in terms of flavour and texture, with a little addition of these sparkling miracles.
And what is more, they last for a long time thanks to the sugar. Always keep some available in your fridge and within a few seconds you can turn your everyday desserts, from boring to amazing! But what I mostly love about them is that they are a 100% no waste! Practically, they are gratis. They can be made with any citrus fruit, such as orange, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, citron. Yet, I must say, orange is the star candied fruit!
So, we begin by washing the citrus fruit cups (if they are not already washed) and cut them into stripes (1-2 cm). To make our rinds more “groomed”, we can peel the fruit into vertical strips before squeezing the juice. This is what I actually do (in this case we make the juice in the blender, instead of the squeezer).
We soak the peels in plenty of water for a a couple of days, changing the water 3-4 times each day. This will help soften the peels and remove most of their bitterness coming from the inner white part of the peels. Two days later, we strain the peels and we proceed to a single blanching, in order to get rid of the eventual remaining bitterness and soften them a little more. You should not omit this procedure, because otherwise the candied peels will be astringent and unpleasant when consumed. So, we cover them with water, we bring to a boil and we let them cook for about 5 minutes. We rinse them under plenty of water, strain them well and weigh them.
Then we measure 1,5 times their weight in water and half of the water’s weight in sugar and we place them in a saucepan to prepare a 50% syrup. We bring them to a boil stirring to help sugar dissolve, then we let it cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the syrup has slightly thickened but remains runny. If we want the candied peels to last longer, we can make a 100% syrup. I don’t, as I prefer them less sweet.
Once the syrup is lukewarm, we put it in a jar, we add the strained peels and we leave them inside the syrup until it cools completely. Then we cover them with a lid and we put them in the fridge, where we let them infuse for about 3-4 days. During this period the peels will absorb much of the syrup.
The last day we pour the syrup into a saucepan and we cook it at medium – low heat to reduce it until it becomes thick enough. We let it cool, then we pour it again over the peels and we return it to the fridge for another 3-4 days, stirring the peels often, so as to always have them covered with syrup. This way we coat them with a second layer of a thicker syrup.
Finally the fourth day, we place both peels and syrup in a wide saucepan and cook them until most of the moisture evaporates and the peels are completely covered by the very thickened syrup and their inner white part becomes almost translucent.
Once our peels are ready, we place them on a wire rack and let them cool completely.
After the candied peels have cooled, we can either keep them as they are (natural), transferring them in a jar and storing them in the fridge, or we can sugar them. Sugaring the peels prolongs even more their life time. We place the dry peels into a plate with sugar and turn them over all sides to cover. The sugar after a few hours will melt and be absorbed by the skins and will not be annoying at biting.
We can consume the candied peels as they are, chop them into dice or into julliene stripes and add them to various preparations or decorate our pastries. We can also deep them in chocolate for spectacular, super tasty mini treats.