Do you have an abundance of citrus and regularly squeeze up a pitcher of orange juice? Your counter tops are likely filled with a pile of squeezed out orange skins. They do compost well, but you might consider another route.
Candied orange peel is a nice finisher for a garlic-laden meal. It cuts the garlic and ends things on a sweet note.
Chop the candied slices into small bits to add to baked goods like breads, cookies, and cakes. Add them to savory dishes like pilaf, roasted vegetables, or slow-cooked chicken dishes. Sprinkle the candied orange peel on a green salad along with toasted pine nuts. Delicious!
You could go a step further and dip half of each slice into a fine melted chocolate. Cool the slices and you have gourmet candy to indulge yourself or give as gifts.
You will find a number of processes online for making candied orange peel. I’ve tried a few and have settled on this as the one that best fits our use of oranges on a daily basis. The process is simple enough, it just takes a bit of time.
Use organic oranges to avoid the plethora of chemicals that get sprayed on mass-produced orange crops. Better yet, grow your own. That takes a while, so as you wait for your own precious oranges, look for a friend who is growing enough organic oranges to share with you.
As for sugar, I have tried using an unrefined sugar instead of the typical white sugar. Unfortunately, the unrefined sugar makes a dark and much more tough peel. It is great to use as an ingredient in cooking but it is too tough for projects such as chocolate-covered orange peel. It is too brown for any project where you want to see the bright orange color. Use the sugar of your choice.
Candied Orange Peel Ingredients
- 10 oranges, cut in half and squeezed of juice
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups organic sugar
Candied Orange Peel Steps
- Slice the squeezed orange halves into quarters.
- Place the quarters into a pan large enough to cover the quarters with cold water.
- Starting with cold water in the pot, cook the orange peels until they have reached the boiling stage and have boiled for five minutes.
- Pour off the water and replace it with cold water. Repeat step 3 two more times. These two times will not take as long as the first time because the pot itself is already hot. The boiling remove some of the bitterness from the peels.
- After the third boil, strain off the water and place the orange peel quarters in a strainer to cool.
- When the peels are cool enough to handle, scrape the white pith out with a spoon.
- Slice the orange peels into 1/4 inch wide strips.
- In a large pot heat the water and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar crystals.
- When the sugar water begins to boil, add the orange slices. Stir them around a bit, pressing them down into the sugar water. Turn the heat to simmer.
- Simmer until the orange peels become translucent. This could take as long as an hour. Check them every 15 minutes or so and press down the slices to keep them well into the syrup.
- Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet for receiving the orange peels.
- Spread the slices out on the cooling rack.
- If you have a gas oven with a nice warm pilot light, place the candied peels in there to dry a bit. No pilot light? Turn the oven on low and dry the peels for a couple of hours.
Store your candied peels in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. They should be fine for about six weeks. If you plan to keep the peels longer than that, consider freezing them to maintain the bright flavor.
Save the syrup. It is a treat unto itself. Use the syrup to sweeten herb teas, to pour on pancakes, as sweetener in salad dressings. You will have no shortage of ways to dispose of your orange syrup!