Saturday, January 21, 2012

Candied Orange Peel

Yes, I'm still playing catch up. I think I have a backlog of about five recipes waiting to be written up and posted. Since the pace of life recently has returned somewhat to normal, I have high hopes. But please, don't hold your breath. 

As a gift, Katie received Good Housekeepking's A Very Merry Christmas Cookbook. So far, we've tried several of the recipes and have been very impressed. And, there is still a lot more recipes we want to give a try. 

While thumbing through the cookbook I was immediately drawn to a photo of candied orange peel. The beautiful orange color was bright and cheerful. However, I had no intention of making the recipe because I didn't think I liked candied fruit. My only experience with candied fruit has been in fruitcake, and I'm NOT a fan. In fact, I rarely like any kind of little fruit pieces baked in something, especially raisins.*

A Threadless T-shirt—might have to go on next year's Christmas wish list.
Well somehow just before the holidays, we had amassed a huge pile of oranges, and no one was eating them. I stared at them on the counter wondering what to do with all of them. It was then I remembered the recipe for the candied orange peel. Along with the oranges, we had all the ingredients in the house (sugar and water). It was Saturday afternoon, and I had a few free hours, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was mainly making it for Katie because I figured neither I nor the kids would like it.

Just as I was finishing up, Katie and the kids came home. I got some pretty strange looks, especially from Katie who was wondering what I was up to. Although you're supposed to let the peel sit for 12 hours before eating, I gave everyone a taste. We were all amazed at how incredibly good the candied orange peel was. In fact, it wasn't long before that batch was gone, and I was making another. They can be addictive.

I decided to make candied orange peel as part of the Christmas culinary gifts I hand out to coworkers, and it was a hit.

This recipe is extremely easy and is one I'm sure our family will continue to make. However, I still doubt if I'll be chopping it up to bake in anything. That's still gross. But alone? Fantastic!

 *I did use the word "rarely" because dried cranberries in scones is one exception.

Candied Orange Peel

  • 5 navel oranges
  • 3 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
Score peel of each orange into quarters, cutting just through the rind and whit pith. Pull peel from fruit. Refrigerate and Save fruit for another use. Cut orange peel lengthwise into strips about ¼ in. wide.

In 4-qt. saucepan, combine peel and enough water to cover. Heat to boiling over high heat, and boil 5 minutes. Drain. Repeat this step two more times, draining peel well and using fresh water each time.

In a 12-in. skillet, combine 2 ½ cups sugar with 1 ½ cups water. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Boil, stirring occasionally until a candy thermometer reads 235° (10 to 15 minutes).

Add drained peel to syrup in skillet and stir to coat evenly. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, or until peel has absorbed most of the syrup, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and continue to simmer, stirring gently, until all syrup has been absorbed.

On a sheet of waxed paper, place remaining cup of sugar. With tongs, lightly roll peel, a few pieces at a time, in sugar. Place in single layer on wire racks. Let peel dry at least 12 hours. Store at room temperature in airtight container up to 1 month.

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