You Can Candy Those Citrus Peels!
If there’s one thing the local citrus season means in our house it’s “candied satsuma and lemon peel time”! A few years ago after our pantry was flooded with dozens of delicious locally grown satsumas, I wanted to see if there is something we could do with all the peels aside from tossing them in compost or making citrus infused vinegar cleaner. Thanks to the good ol’ interwebs, I quickly found out about candied citrus peels and I was in business! They are a delicious treat to put on top of cakes or cupcakes, ice cream and desserts. I also like to bag them up into little bags and attach a little note saying they are made from citrus grown under the Florida sun in Tallahassee and mail them along with holiday presents. It’s a sweet little piece of Florida sunshine that I love sharing with friends and family! After 3 years of this holiday making tradition, I think I’ve mastered the method. Grab some satsumas and lemons and give it a try!
6 organic satsumas, grapefruit or Ponderosa lemons (I tend to prefer grapefruit-seized Ponderosa lemons over satsumas because the rind is really thick and I can make lemonade with the insides. But satsumas and grapefruit are equally as delicious!)
4 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 1/2 cups water
Wash the skin of each fruit with warm soapy water. Cut each fruit in half and juice the halves if you would like (for fruit juice or lemonade). After juicing, peel away the inside and compost the pulp. Cut each half from the top down so you have two quarters. Cut off what has the fruit top (where it attached to the tree) or bottom. With the peel side down, use a very sharp knife to carefully slice away the white inside pith on each piece. If left, the pith can make the peels bitter. Put the peels in a large sauce pan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove and pour off the water. Repeat 1 or 2 more times. This blanching of the peels helps remove any pithy bitterness left on the peels. After blanching, remove the peels from the pan.
Combine the sugar and 1 ½ cups water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Add the peels to the bubbling syrup and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook the peels until they are translucent, about 45 minutes. Try to not stir the peels but swirl the pan to move the peels around if need. This will keep large sugar crystals out of the peel mixture.
Once translucent, drain the peels, saving the syrup to add to iced tea or coffee. Roll the peels in sugar until coated and place them on a drying a rack for 4 to 5 hours. Store in a seal tight container.
Delicious alternative to storing: Melt some chocolate and dip half of each peel in it. Allow the chocolate to harden and ENJOY!