I can’t believe we never tried to make these before. Not just because they are so easy and kid friendly but also because candied orange peel tastes fantastic. They are pretty too and would make a great gift (especially if they were dipped in dark chocolate). We are each eating about one orange and day. They are in season and very good right now, they are one of few fruits I can buy a large quantity of at the grocery store, and they are high in vitamin C. So we have a lot of peels. I love that those don’t have to be wasted, we don’t compost them. With this project you get the benefits of the oranges two times. With the peels being even higher in vitamins and healing properties than what you normally would eat. I gather the peels over the course of a week and store them in a bag in the refrigerator until needed. Not more than seven days or they will start to go off and mold.
Candied Orange Peel
Start with the peels of 6-10 oranges (assuming you washed them before eating). You don’t need to remove anything but the stickers. Cut into strips about 2-3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Feel free to cut off any bits that don’t work for the shape you want etc. These you can discard or try drying. A note about drying-there must be no mold on the peels if you use a dehydrator. They can burn unexpectedly in the oven even at the lowest setting.
Place prepared peels in a bowl. Pour boiling water over them. Rinse with cold water. Repeat once more and drain. This removes any bitter taste from your final product.
Place 2 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add 1 cup of granulated sugar. Let that dissolve.
Add your orange peels. On low heat let simmer. Stir and watch until the liquid becomes a syrup and absorbs into the peels. When there is no syrup left in the pot, remove from heat and let cool until you can handle the peels. Liquid sugar can get very hot and burn so kids should not be left unsupervised if they are helping with this project.
Dump about 1 cup of granulated sugar onto a large plate. Roll the peels in the sugar, both sides, to coat lightly. Place on a cookie sheet or cooling rack. You can use parchment paper but ours did not seem sticky enough to warrant that. Let dry for two days.
Remove and store in an airtight container. You can also freeze them for longer storage.
Besides vitamin C there are other healing uses for fruits in the citrus family. The peel specifically is thought to be anti-bacterial. It is high in anti-oxidants (could prevents cancer/tumors) bio flavinoids (could strengthen blood vessels and tissues) coumarin (found in turmeric) and other nutrients. Orange peel increases circulation and removes dampness. It may support “the spleen” , liver and gallbladder. It is best known as a digestive to address symptoms of bloating, constipation, gas, indigestion, nausea, and hiccups. We like our candied peels as a light desert after dinner. They may taste like candy but I think one a day is plenty especially if you are prone to acid reflux or are sensitive to citrus. Of course orange peels make a great addition to baked goods. I really like them in scones or sugar cookies.
Are you doing any stress baking or cooking? What has been you favorite food creation this week?