Thank you to New Seasons Market for sponsoring this post!
January celebrates the ushering in of citrus season! I always get excited to see the fresh crops pour into the produce section of my local grocery stores and roadside fruit stands. I LOVE practically anything with citrus-flavored and love experimenting with news ways of using the full range of citrus fruits.
There’s a dazzling variety of citrus on the market, more than most realize and each have unique flavor elements. Just to give you an example, here are a few varieties of just orange and tangerines alone: Bergamot, blood, Cara Cara, Hamlin, Seville, Valencia, clementine, enCore, Fairchild, Fremont, gold nugget, honey, Kara, Lee, Murcott, Page, pixie, sunburst and satsuma. Wouldn’t it be fun to have each of these side by side and taste each one for comparison? Not to mention the different varieties of grapefruit, lemons, limes and other forms of citrus like kumquats, tangelos, pummelos and unique fruit (aka, ugli fruit).
There’s an upcoming opportunity not only to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the awesome citrus varieties, but also to taste some samples of the very best citrus available. New Seasons Market celebrates each year with two special in-store citrus sampling events, including at their newest location on Mercer Island, WA (just off the i-90, a ¼ mile south of exit 7a). I’ve been there on a few occasions since their grand opening a few weeks ago and love it. You can read all about it in my post HERE.
For those of you in the Greater Seattle area, New Seasons Market will be hosting their sweet citrus tasting Jan. 14-16 followed by a sour citrus tasting Jan. 21-22. They only carry the very best of the best, so this is sure to be an awesome event. Maybe we’ll bump into each other!
Today we’re going to make delicious use of a portion of the citrus fruit you may normally discard by making candied citrus peels. Think of these delightful sweet treats like citrus flavor on steroids!
While candied orange and candied lemon are the the most commonly used, candied grapefruit and lime also have a delicious place in the mix and I’m going to demonstrate the process using those as well.
There are a few reasons you should make your own: 1) The store-bought stuff is generally not organic. 2) It’s made with chemicals. 3) It’s not fresh. 4) Most of it tastes bad. Like really bad. I regularly have readers request recommendations for good brands of candied citrus and the best recommendation that I can offer is make your own! Because once you do and taste the difference, you’ll never buy it again.
The good news is, it is SO easy to make your own! And it keeps for a long time, especially if you freeze it. The flavor is 100% better than store-bought and will bring your baked goods to life.
So that leads us to the question of how do you use candied citrus?
- As garnish for pies, cakes and cupcakes
- Chopped up and added to cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, scones, etc.
- Sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt
- As garnish for citrus-flavored drinks
- Finely chopped and added to streusel topping for muffins and cakes
- Dipped in chocolate for an elegant sweet treat (dip candied orange peels in chocolate to make orangettes, a classic French confection)
- and whatever else your imagination can think of!
Let’s get started!
Select the best citrus fruits possible and give them a thorough scrubbing and washing. We’re not sticklers about buying all of our produce organic, but we do stick to organic for certain items that are highly sprayed and/or waxed. And in the case of citrus fruits, if I’m using the peels for zesting or candying, I use and recommend organic.
Slice both ends of the orange. Cut the peel on each each into 4 or more vertical segments, depending on the size of the fruit. Peel off each segment of rind. Remove some of the white pith (not necessary to remove it all).
The process is the same for any citrus fruit.
Slice the peels into 1/4 inch wide strips.
Keep the peeled citrus for eating, cooking or juicing.
Boil the peels in water in a pot for 15 minutes. Drain the peels in a colander, rinse and then drain again. Discard the water from the pot.
Add the sugar and fresh water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Boil it for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the citrus peels, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peels become translucent.
Use a slotted spoon to remove a few of the peels at a time and let the excess syrup drip off for a few seconds. Place the hot, wet peels in the bowl of sugar and toss to coat.
Spread the candied citrus peels out on a wire rack to cool and dry completely, 1-2 days.
Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, the candied citrus peel will keep for at least a month. They’ll keep even longer in the fridge and for a few months frozen.
Finally, DON’T DISCARD THE CITRUS SYRUP! This is a wonderful citrus-flavored simple syrup to add to your drinks for a wonderful kick of citrus flavor!
- 3 Valencia or Naval oranges and 4 lemons (can also use the equivalent of grapefruits, Meyer lemons and limes, or any citrus of your choice), thoroughly washed and scrubbed (as citrus is highly sprayed, I recommend using organic)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Fine granulated sugar for coating
- Slice both ends of the citrus fruits. Cut the peel on each each into 4 or more vertical segments, depending on the size of the fruit. Peel off each segment of rind and cut off some of the white pith (not necessary to remove it all). Slice the peels into ¼ inch wide strips. (Keep the peeled citrus for eating, cooking, juicing, etc)
- Boil the peels in a pot of water for 15 minutes. Drain the peels in a colander, rinse and then drain again. Discard the water from the pot.
- Add the fresh water and sugar to the pot and bring it to a boil. Boil it for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the citrus peels, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peels become translucent.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove a few of the peels at a time and let the excess syrup drip off for a few seconds. Place the hot, wet peels in the bowl of sugar and toss to coat.
- Spread the candied citrus peels out on a wire rack to cool and dry completely, 1-2 days.
- Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, the candied citrus peel will keep for at least a month. They'll keep even longer in the fridge and for a few months frozen.
*If you'd like to make more candied citrus peel, simply increase the amount of water and sugar by the same 2:1 ratio.
Thank you to New Seasons Market for sponsoring this post and to my readers for supporting the brands that make The Daring Gourmet possible!