Candied Citrus Appeal

Lemons, oranges, tangerines: The rinds of almost any citrus fruit can be transformed into sparkling, delectable treats.

By Denise Gee

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How to make candied citrus peelsSweeten the pot

Candied peel gets its sweetness from simple syrup. Here’s how to make it:

  • Rinse out the saucepan. Add the drained peels and measure in fresh water to just cover fruit; keep track of how much water you use. Drain peels again, this time reserving the water.
  • Return water to pan and add as much sugar as water (for 4 cups water, you would add 4 cups sugar).
  • Add cream of tartar to help preserve color and keep the sugar from crystallizing during the long high-heat cooking time. Use a ratio of 1 teaspoon cream of tartar per 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water.
  •  Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add drained peels to the simple syrup, stir to fully incorporate, and bring to a boil, letting fruit peels roil about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer, stirring only occasionally, for about 50 to 55 minutes. When the temperature reaches 230∞F on a candy thermometer, the syrup should be just right.

 

Sweeten Some More

  • Drain the sweetened fruit peels, reserving the simple syrup (see “Flavor Saver” on page 51). Place peels atop wire racks set on rimmed baking trays lined with waxed paper or paper towels and let them “drip dry” for about 30 minutes, using a fork to turn them occasionally.
  • Add about 1 cup sugar to a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag or medium-size bowl and add peels; toss to coat in sugar.
  • Wash racks and replace waxed paper in trays. Place sugared peels atop the clean racks.
  • In low-humidity climates, leave the peels out to dry for about 24 hours.
  • In high-humidity climates, allow at least 2, maybe even 3, days to let the peels dry naturally.
  • To speed things up, heat oven to 200∞F and then turn off the oven. Place the peels in the oven to dry overnight; if necessary, repeat this process.
     

Cure & sweeten even more

  • Return sugared peels to bag of sugar and give them another good shake.
  • Coat an airtight container with a thin layer of sugar and place the peels in the container.
  • Close securely and don’t open the container for several days. Do shake the container daily, though, to ensure that the peels don’t stick together.
  • Peels will keep in an airtight container a couple of weeks, but do not refrigerate: They’ll get unpleasantly chewy. You can, however, freeze candied peels in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature, breaking the peels up to air-dry. Add a fresh dusting of sugar if desired.
     
 
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