Candied Orange & Grapefruit Peel (recipe)
This is a re-post from a previous year. YUM!!
I heard an ad on the radio yesterday for the Portland Saturday Market’s Festival of the Last Minute (open today!). I felt instantly better about the cookies I didn’t bake, the crafts I never glued, and the recipes I never posted. December is such a crazy busy month. There’s only so much you can squeeze into 25 days.
Yesterday, I finally buckled down and made several Christmas treats, including candied citrus peel for the first time. It is the ultimate in frugal recipes because the star of the show is something you would normally toss in the compost bin: orange and grapefruit peels! It reminds me of those Depression-era recipes that use items that are normally considered garbage, like Peach Pit Jam or Poor Man’s Spam (My apologies if you like Spam. You may have all of my servings times infinity.)
For this simple treat, there are only two ingredients involved: sugar and citrus peels. Unless you count water, which I don’t. Or melted chocolate, which I would highly recommend. So let’s say three. 3 ingredients and 3 hours (mostly hands off) will result in a bright, sparkly strips of citrus peel perfection. The actual fruit part could go into a fresh juice or salad. This is frugal living, holiday style!
Although there are several steps to turn normally bitter citrus peels into soft, sugary strips, they are all easy ones. By boiling the peels in three changes of water, then simmering them in a simple syrup it takes away the bitter bite and gives it a pleasantly chewy texture and sweet, citrusy flavor. It’s not for everyone, but man, I love the tangy-sweet combination. I could eat these things like… candy. All. day. long. What are you waiting for? Christmas is tomorrow! Make these today!
Candied Citrus Peel
2 large red or pink grapefruit or 4 medium oranges
1 c. sugar, more for coating
1/2 c. water
dark chocolate, melted (optional)
- Cut the ends off the grapefruit or oranges. Cut the peel from the fruit in long strips, leaving 1/4″ of the white pith attached. Cut into narrow strips about 3/8″ wide.
- Place the citrus strips into a saucepan, cover with cold water (the peels with float the first time). Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat two more times.
- Return the peels to the saucepan and add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until the peels are translucent, about 20 minutes.
- Drain. Dry on a wire rack for 2-4 hours.
- Option 1: Add about 1/3 cup of sugar to a plastic storage bag. Toss the peels in, a few at a time, and shake until evenly coated with sugar. Remove with a slotted spoon to a serving platter or storage container.
- Option 2: Dip the ends of the peels into the melted chocolate until evenly coated. Place on wax paper or parchment paper until dry.
I love packaging food gifts in these simple, clear Cello Bags (Amazon). By switching out the ribbon, you can customize these to fit any occasion. This 100-bag set is a great deal and idea. I always keep a stack in my kitchen drawer for last-minute gifts. Perfect for all those times I want to bring something small to someone, without going through a big fuss to figure out how to package it up.
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