Candied Citrus Peels

Use lemon, orange or grapefruit peels in this recipe for a zesty and colorful garnish.
Candied Citrus Peels

Candied Citrus Peels

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Use candied citrus peels in recipes, cocktails or as a zesty dessert topper.

Although the flavor found in the rind of lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus fruits is loaded with bright, bold flavor, it’s hard to get past the overwhelming bitterness that comes with it. Don’t throw those citrus peels  away! Instead, temper the bite found in the peels of your favorite citrus and sweeten with simple syrup to create an irresistible garnish for cocktails or desserts.

Tamed by blanching the rind to soften the skin and break down the bitter enzymes, citrus peels will retain much of their vibrant flavor without the discouraging bite. Boiled in a sugary simple syrup, the notoriously tart rind is transformed into flavor-plus topper for pies or cakes, a bold garnish when served in cocktails, or to add a little zing to ice cream or yogurt.

Candied citrus peels are easy to make at home and make great use of an ingredient that might otherwise end up in the compost bin. As an added bonus, after candying your peels, retain the flavored simple syrup to use in cocktails, moisten cakes or to make a refreshing citrus sorbet.

Candied Citrus Peels

  • 6 unwaxed lemons or limes. 4 oranges or 3 grapefruit (to yield about 3 to 3-1/2 cups of peels)
  • 4+3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water

Score the peel of the fruit into 8 segments and remove from the flesh.

Use a paring knife to scrape away excess pith.

Cut peels into 1/4” strips.

Place peels in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Drain, add water and bring to boil a second 5 minutes.

Drain and set peels aside.

Combine 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar in pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Once syrup is boiling, add citrus peels and reduce to simmer 50-60 minutes until tender and translucent.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Use  colander to drain and allow to rest 30 minutes.

In a large bowl toss peels with 3/4 cup of sugar.

Arrange peels on a wire rack placed on a baking tray.

Set aside to dry for 18-24 hours until peels are no longer tacky to the touch.

Candied citrus peels may be stored up to 2 months at room temperature in an airtight container.

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