Home-made candied peel is a gazillion times nicer than the commercial stuff you buy diced in little plastic bags or that comes in commercial mixed fruit. It’s good enough to snack on, on its own. Which I do. Often.
My recipe, as is so often the case, comes from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, 1996. Stephanie uses lemons in her recipe because they have thicker skins than other citrus fruit. But when I juiced blood oranges from my backyard tree recently I realised they had perfect skins for candying. And they were such a pretty, deep shade of orange, too.
You can use any thick-skinned citrus fruit to make candied peel such as tangelos, grapefruit, lemons or, as I did, blood oranges.
Stephanie suggests freezing juiced lemons until you have enough to candy, and I have done this for years. You can add candied peel to cakes, puddings and biscuits, dip it in dark chocolate, or eat it just as it is.
- Citrus fruit, halved, squeezed and all flesh removed (I used blood oranges, but you could use lemons, tangelos, grapefruit etc - any citrus with a thick skin)
- caster sugar
- Cut fruit halves into four to six pieces, leaving all white pith intact.
- Place fruit in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then pour off water. Repeat process twice to remove bitterness from fruit.
- Drain, then weigh fruit. Return fruit to the pan with the same weight of sugar.
- Cook gently until sugar has dissolved, then simmer for about one hour, or until peel is translucent. Keep an eye on the mixture while it is simmering because you don't want the sugar to catch on the bottom of the pan or overcook and darken.
- Drain peel and dry on a cake rack sitting on a try somewhere out of the way of ants. Turn after 12 hours.
- When candied peel is dry, roll the pieces in caster sugar and store in airtight jars.