Last weekend was my Preserving Citrus Seminar at which I presented Candied Orange Peel. For some reason I failed to share the recipe and have been asked many times since for it. While the original recipe came from “Put Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook “, I was unable to find a digital version of the recipe to share. So here is my modified version. (BTW, if you don’t have that book I recommend getting it! You can pick it up at The Greenery).
About 6 large oranges — or any citrus: grapefruit, lime, lemon!
2 to 4 cups sugar plus more for dusting
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp Watkins Vanilla Extract
Start by selecting firm, brightly colored oranges with no imperfections on the rind then scrubbing well with a veggie brush. This is best picked fresh and not held for a time. I recommend organic fruit as well. Peel the oranges setting the fruit aside for eating, jam or jelly. Slice the rind into 1/4″ strips. You want the strips to be consistent in size so they cook evenly. You don’t need to scrape off the pith. Place the sliced rinds in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring quickly to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, remove from heat, pour out water and refill with fresh water. Repeat this boiling process a total of 3 times. This is to remove the bitterness of the pith. In another large saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil then slowly add the sugar 1 cup at a time, making sure each cup is dissolved before adding more. The amount of sugar you use is up to you, I used all 4 cups. Once all the sugar is added, add 1 split vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract and the peels then bring to a simmer. Cook until all strips are tender (about 40 minutes). Once the strips are tender, turn off heat and remove strips from syrup. Lay the strips out on dehydrator trays or baking racks to drip and dry. For longest shelf life it is best to dry the strips in a food dehydrator (see the instructions for the dehydrator for the time and temperature). I dried mine for 6 hours at 135 degrees F. Once the strips are barely tacky, toss them in sugar then store in an airtight container. You can added dried seasonings to the sugar if you prefer. I tried a heavy dose of cinnamon but you could also add nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and more! At room temperature you can store them for more a couple months. For up to a year, store in airtight container in the freezer.
**Don’t toss the syrup left from cooking the strips!! This luscious treat is a great added bonus. Try it for pancake syrup, flavoring oatmeal or yogurt, adding to smoothies, flavoring drinks (even mixed drinks!) or using as packing syrup for canning citrus segments. I used mine to can orange segments. Keep the syrup in the fridge for a month or so or freezer for up to 1 year. You can even dilute it up to 1/2 with water if it is too sweet for your taste.