If you get oranges in your Christmas stockings, this is a fun way to use the peels! These are really easy and really CHEAP to make, but it does take some time. So, just make them earlier in the day or the day before you want to use them.
Use candied orange peels as a garnish, in a fruitcake, as a treat dipped in chocolate, and more. I will post a recipe using them next week, in fact.
Candied Orange Peels
- 3-4 oranges
- 1 1/2 c water
- 2 c sugar, plus more for rolling
Rinse the oranges. Cut tops and bottoms off of each orange and score the orange into vertical quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel off the skin in large pieces. Wrap the orange and put it in the refrigerator to use for another recipe or to eat later. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. On parts where the pith is thick, you may want to remove most of the pith, in order to reduce bitterness.
Most people like the texture of a 3-time blanch the best, it also mellows the bitterness. But it is a matter of preference. If you are using a sweet variety of citrus, you may only want to blanch once or not at all! Put the orange peel strips in a saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 1 or 2 more times, depending on your preference. Remove the orange peels from the pan.
Whisk 2 c sugar with 1 1/2 c water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Add the peels and simmer gently until the peels become translucent and soft, about 35-45 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the peels because you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around. Drain the peels or remove them with tongs (save the syrup, see below*).
Let them dry on a rack for an hour or so. Then roll them in sugar. Let dry completely before storing, for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight. If you’d like to curl your peels, wrap them around cut up pieces of drinking straws while they dry.
You can wrap and freeze the candied orange peels for up to 2 months.
*You can also use that syrup your peels were simmering in. It should be a thick orange syrup that would be great mixed into salad dressings, honey, or iced tea.