Candied Citrus Peel, or as I call it, mixed peel, is something that I do not use too often. But if you want to make a fruit cake or a Christmas Pudding (but I refuse to think about those at this time of year!), having some candied peel on hand is essential. Yes, you can buy it, but it’s full of preservatives that I’m trying to avoid and it’s expensive. Making your own peel just requires citrus fruit and time. This candied peel is made from orange peel, lemon peel and grapefruit peel. You can do any combination that you like though.
The steps are so simple – you just have to peel the citrus fruit, keeping the white pith on the skin. If you do not like a bitter taste to your peel you may like to minimize the amount of pith, as it is what gives the bitter taste. However, much of the bitter taste is blanched during the cooking process.
All the peel goes into a saucepan, and you cover it with just as much water to cover the fruit. You bring the water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Once it has simmered for 10 minutes, you drain the liquid. This process is repeated one more time, but this last time you will reserve 1/2 a cup of the liquid. (I’ll explain more in the recipe!)
The reserved liquid is added to water & sugar to make a syrup. Once the sugar has dissolved, you bring the syrup to a boil. The syrup is poured over the peel, and you leave it overnight. The next day, the peel and the liquid (plus some more sugar) is boiled and simmered again. Last of all, the peel is left out to dry for about 24 hours.
It is a long process, but each step is fairly quick. It really is worth the effort if you like to bake with peel.
Store the candied peel in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
This recipe comes from an old Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, “Cooking Class Cookbook”. Unfortunately there is no publication date but the recommended and maximum price was $3.98. Online I am seeing publication dates of 1990, but I know my copy must be older as I was about to finish high school in 1990, and it had been in our household throughout my high school years. Judging by the pictures I would guess it came out in the 1980’s. It’s a treasure of a book and I have enjoyed making many of the recipes throughout the years.
- 1 orange rind
- 1 lemon rind
- 1 grapefruit rind
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- water as needed
- Peel the citrus fruit, leaving the white pith on the skin.
- Cut the pith into 1/4 inch pieces, by slicing the pith into strips and then into cubes.
- Put the chopped peel into a medium sized saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the fruit.
- Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain the water and put the fruit back into the saucepan.
- Cover the fruit with water again, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and allow the water to simmer for another 10 minutes. This process can be repeated again, if you find that the pith is still too bitter.
- Drain the water again, but this time reserve 1/2 cup of the orange liquid.
- Place the peel into a heatproof bowl.
- Put the reserved liquid back into the saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to the saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the liquid to a boil.
- Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and pour over the peel. Leave the fruit and sugar syrup sitting at room temperature overnight.
- The next day, put the peel and liquid into a saucepan.
- Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the liquid to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the peel from the heat, and drain.
- Cover a wire rack with wax paper. Spread the peel out on the wax paper and allow to stand for 24 hours at room temperature. Occasionally turn the peel with a fork to aid with drying and prevent sticking.