Candied peel – ready for use
Yes, candied peel – the bitter bullet like bits that I used to pick out of my Christmas cake. Well, if you make them yourself, they don’t have to be that way. In fact, they are so good, you’ll never buy mixed or candied peel again, you won’t just be using it in Christmas Cake and you’ll probably be eating this stuff like sweets! This is effectively a ‘waste product’ – of you make your own fruit juice, you can make this for minimal cost. I’ve used orange peel, but you can use any citrus peel. Try with lemon, lime, pink grapefruit – whatever you fancy!
TIP: Unusually, when peeling the fruit, you want to keep the pith attached to the zest. Normally the pith is undesireably making dishes bitter, but in this case it allows the fruit to absorb much more sugar.
- 5 oranges
- 600g white granulated sugar
- Wash the fruit thoroughly in warm water
- Slice off the top and bottom of each orange then cut the peel in wide strips, from top to bottom, retaining the pith. It doesn’t matter if a little of the orange fruit remains attached to the pith
- Place the skin a pan, fill with cold water and boil gently until soft. This can take around 90 minutes. To up with boiling water as necessary
- Drain, rinse out the pan and replace the fruit. Cover with cold water again and bring up to the boil. Cook gently for an additional further 20 minutes before draining
- Whilst the peel has it’s second cooking, dissolve the sugar in 200ml water in a large thick-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Gently bring up to the boil and gently stir in the peel, making sure it is well coated in syrup
- Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the peel has absorbed virtually all the syrup. This could take 2-3 hrs – BEWARE – as you get towards the end of the process, the syrup may catch and burn or the peel may burn on the bottom of the pan. Watch closely to prevent this
- The peel needs to drip and dry somewhere warm for several days. I leave mine on the grill tray in the oven (but obviously don’t have the oven switched on!) You could leave it in an airing cupboard. Oil the grill rack and line the grill tray with greaseproof paper. Arrange the peel in a single layer on the rack – It will be VERY sticky! Allow 3 to 4 days to dry, turning over once a day.
- Once it its dry, store in an airtight jar. Cut into smaller pieces as and when you need it.
TIP:- Once the peel has cooked in the syrup and been removed to the grill tray, you will be left with thick, hot, orange flavoured syrup. Don’t waste this – pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper or a silicon tray and leave to set. Break up and store for use fruitcakes or anything sweat needing an orange flavour!