Candied orange peel is a must ingredient for Christmas and Easter Baking. Whether added to Christmas cake, plum pudding, traditional Christmas breads or Easter baking, this key ingredient is super easy to make at home. And DIY candied orange peel tastes amazing and is naturally gluten-fee.
It’s citrus season and the oranges are abundant. Valencia oranges, navel oranges, clementine oranges, tangerines, and blood oranges are starting to appear in the grocery stores in Canada. While most people throw out the peel and eat the orange, there is a lot of flavor, vitamins, and flavonoids in those peels.
Most candied orange peel recipes tell you just to simmer the oranges in heavy syrup until they are done, but these peels are bitter and unpalatable, useful only as a digestive aid. The syrup also has a bitter after taste that limits its use. There is one key step that is missing from most candied orange peel recipes. Adding this step creates a delicious, bitter-free, candied peel that is delicious eaten as is, dipped in dark chocolate, or used in baking.
While you can use any orange peel for this recipe, if you want thick orange peels to dip in dark chocolate or serve on their own, use an orange with a thicker skin. Tangerines, clementines, and Christmas oranges are thin skinned and the skins, while fine for baking, turn out mushy after cooking. The flavor of each type of orange peel will be different, too. Valencia, blood oranges, or navel oranges have thicker skin and are more suitable for candied orange peels to dip in chocolate or serve on a cookie tray. If you are going for candied orange peel to add to Christmas baking or Easter bread, you can use any orange you have.Print
Candied orange peel is easy to make at home and the homemade version is bitter-free, with a soft, chewy texture that’s perfect on its own or as an ingredient in holiday baking.
- 4 thicker skinned oranges, like valencia, navel, cara cara, or blood oranges
- 5 quarts of water, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- Wash oranges to remove any wax or pesticide residue
- Score each orange in four places and remove the peel. Set the orange fruit aside for another use.
- Cut the peel into 1/4 inch strips.
- Fill a 2 quart sauce pan 1/2 full of water. Place peels into sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Strain the peels and pour off the water. Repeat 2 more times.
- In a clean 2 quart saucepan, add 2 cups of water and sugar. Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and vanilla paste. Add it to the simple syrup. Chop the vanilla bean into 1/4 inch pieces and add to sauce pan. Add the orange peel slices.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 to 45 minutes until the orange peel is translucent.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the orange peel from syrup. Dry on cooling rack. Reserve the orange flavored syrup for another use.
- Allow the orange peel slices to dry for several hours. Turn the candied orange peel several time during the drying process. This can be sped up using a dehydrator, but watch it carefully so that you don’t caramelize the peel.
- The peel is ready to store when it is dry to the touch, no longer sticky and is flexible.
- Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The candied orange peel will be better after a day or two in the jar, where the moisture level is able to balance out.
To store the syrup, strain the syrup through a fine sieve to remove any bits of orange. On its own this will last up to month in the fridge.
Keywords: candied orange peel
The first step: Prepare the oranges
Wash the orange peel well in soap with a dash of vinegar. Oranges are generally grown with a lot of pesticides, and most of it ends up on the peel. Even organic oranges might have been treated with chemicals in the packaging to inhibit mold, so wash well.
Score the oranges in four places to make it easy to peel them. Peel the oranges. Set aside the orange fruit for a fruit salad or dessert.
Cut the peel lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips.
Step two: Remove the bitterness
Fill a 2 quart saucepan half full with cold water. Add peels. Bring the water to a simmer. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Pour the water out, straining through a colander to retain the peel. Repeat this process two more times, for a total of three times.
Step three: Candy the peel
Make a simple syrup using 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the orange peel to the saucepan, along with the simple syrup. Simmer over medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until the orange peel is translucent.
Reserve this orange flavored syrup for cocktails, orange soda, and hot chocolate.
Step 4: Dry the candied orange peel
Remove the candied orange peel from the pot using a slotted spoon. Drain the candied orange peels as much as possible. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter to catch the drips. Place a cooling rack over the parchment paper. Lay the drained candied orange peel on the cooling rack in a single layer. Allow to dry completely at room temperature for several hours or over night. Turn each piece after a few hours to dry the other side.
Peel is ready to use when it is dry to the touch and no longer sticky. Store in glass jar with a tight lid.
How to use candied orange peel
Dip in dark chocolate to serve on a cookie tray. Chop it up to use in Christmas or Easter baking. Or just enjoy it as is.
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