I come from a Florida family. Both of my parents grew up in Florida and most of their grandparents did too. So needless to say, we love citrus. I have many memories of my great-grandmother and my Grandma making delicious ambrosia during the holidays, then they would take the citrus peel and make candy! Well I'd never made it before, but last week I was feeling adventurous and so I made some! It turned out really well and was so tasty.
I promise you the orange ones tasted exactly like those sugary orange slices you can buy - only these are way better...(I won't necessarily say better for you...'cause we're still talking about candy here). I seriously encourage you to give this a try - it's not hard to make, there are just several steps - but hey - put on your favorite Christmas movie and start peeling!
Candied Citrus Peel
(adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
3 oranges, 2 lemons, 1 grapefruit
4 cups of sugar, plus more for rolling
water/paring knife/paper towel
Step 1: Peel the fruit. Make slits in the peel with your knife - cut from top to bottom cutting through the peel but not the fruit. It takes about 6 cuts per fruit. Then use your fingers and gently pull the peel away from the fruit.
Step 2: Remove the pith. This step is a pain, but it makes the difference between sweet candy and bitter peel rolled in sugar. Use a paring knife to peel off the white pith that lines the peel - just do the best you can, but the more you take off the less bitter your candy will be.
Step 3: Put the peels in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring it to a boil, then drain the water. Repeat this two more times, using cold water each time. After you drain it the last time, put the peels in a bowl.
Step 4: Put the 4 cups of sugar into the saucepan along with 4 cups of water. Bring this to a boil then put the peel in and reduce to medium low - so that it is simmering nicely. Let it simmer for about an hour or until the peels look transluscent.
**Bonus - this also makes your house smell amazing**
Step 5: Let the peels cool in the syrup - usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs. Put a piece of parchment paper down, and then set a cooling rack on top. Ladle the peels out with a slotted spoon onto the rack - letting the excess syrup drip off.
Step 6: Take the peels off a few at a time and pat the excess syrup off with a paper towel - then roll them in a bowl of sugar. Place them on a candy plate and cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to eat them!
Happy candy making!