When making marmalade last week I froze some unused lemon peel with the thought of using it for something constructive. After some thought, and research, I decided to have a go at candied peel, not something I'd usually even use.
Hopefully having some in the house will be useful when it comes to baking, and for mincemeat at Christmas if it lasts that long. I wanted to have a wider range of peel than just two lemons, so the bag in the freezer grew to contain the following:
Peel of three lemons - 170g (left over from marmalade making)
Peel of 1 grapefruit - 140g (a breakfast treat)
Peel of five oranges - 255g (a regular winter craving)
Peel of 2 limes - 100g (I wanted some green in the mix, so cooked Thai curry)
I pulled all this out the freezer in the morning so it was thawed when I came to prepare it.
There seemed to be several ways of preparing the peel, either repeated boiling and draining, or just prolonged boiling, but all recipes needed the peel to have the membranes scraped off and then be sliced. This took about 20 minutes, I wasn't too fussy about removing all the pith as I'd read it added to the succulence of the finished product, which made sense - the more pith, the more sugar could be soaked up.
Roughly following the recipe from Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes blog, I boiled all the peel 3 times draining in between.
See here for the candied peel recipe.
£0.00 665g left over citrus peel
£1.39 1.5kg sugar
£1.63 per kg of Candied Peel (50% of the cost at Tesco)
I choose to use the above recipe as it had a nice adaptable way of measuring the sugar syrup - using cups as a volume measure. It also gave me a chance to use one of these lovely measuring cups from Nigella Lawson.
I had 6 cups of peel, which wasn't too tightly packed, in hindsight I should probally have packed it in a bit more, as I ended up with way too much syrup. Having surplus did mean that I wasn't concerned about the pan catching or drying out. I do also now have a bottle of citrus flavoured sugar syrup, which makes a nice drink with fizzy water. I may be tempted to try a gin fizz this weekend.
In went the peel to the syrup.
After two and a half hours of simmering the peel had turned translucent, so I drained it and left it on racks before dusting with granulated sugar. I'll be letting it dry out in a large bowl for a few days before packing into jars.
1 hrs Preparation 0.5 hr Draining and Dusting
0.5 hr Potting
2.5 hrs Cooking
48 hr Drying
It tastes wonderful, initially sweet with a citrus bite afterward, with also a real difference between fruits. The lime could have done with being a bit softer - more boiling next time. Being able to cut the peel to size will be excellent when cooking with it.