Homemade Candied Orange Peel Is a Holiday Treat

Scraping the white off the peel makes for a sweeter product.

 

When my neighbor Linda shared some chocolate covered orange peel with me a few days ago, it reminded me of a recipe I had not used in quite some time that I found in a cookbook from 1887 called The Hearthstone; or Life at Home, A Household Manual, written by Laura Halloway. Any confection like this takes some effort, but the result is lovely, and it makes a pleasing gift if you don’t end up eating it all yourself.

The best oranges are the thin-skinned Florida oranges sometimes sold as juice oranges. Thick skins from navel oranges are too brittle and besides, the white is bitter and has to be scraped off. Better to start with oranges that don’t have much white to begin with. The process of boiling and re-boiling creates a sweet peel.

The peel ready for boiling in syrup.

A few hints: If you use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the peel into strips, you’ll find it goes quickly and easily. Strain the orange juice before adding sugar to it for the candying stage. Eat the pulp left behind.

Boiling the peel in the sugar and orange juice.

I usually roll the peel in granulated sugar after cooking it in sugar syrup, a process which helps it dry without sticking to its neighbors. I love orange and chocolate together, and often dip my candied peel in a ganache of chocolate bits melted with a little cream. Lay the peel out on parchment or waxed paper to cool and firm up.

Stay in the kitchen with it until you stash it away, or else make it when you are home alone; otherwise, it might mysteriously evaporate before you intend it to.

The recipe below is for one orange. Merely multiply it for as many oranges as you want to process.

The candied peel of one orange set out to dry.

P.S. The theme this weekend will be cookies when I go to Rooster Brother in Ellsworth for a signing which starts at noon. I’m taking some gameldags pepparkakor from my just-published cookbook Maine Home Cooking, which is based on this very column. I sure hope I will see some of you there.

Candied Orange Peel
1 orange
Hot water
Sugar

Cut the orange in half and use a juicer or reamer to squeeze out the juice which you reserve. Scrape the inside of the peel until you see very little white.

 

Cut into strips with a pair of kitchen scissors. Cover with hot water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes. Drain the peel, cover it again with hot water and boil another five minutes. Drain it, and repeat one more time.

Measure the strained juice and put it into a heavy-bottomed pan. Put an equal quantity of sugar into the pan, and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Add the peel. Boil gently for at least twenty minutes or until the peel is translucent. Lay the strips of candied peel on a rack over waxed paper (to prevent mess from sticky drips) and let cool. Dredge with more granulated sugar if you wish.

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About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.