Candied Citrus Peel
Hold on to that California citrus flavor, all throughout the year.
This recipe from Kris Hoogerhyde, co-owner of Bi-Rite Creamery, makes it possible to enjoy the flavors of #PeakOfSeason candied citrus all the way until the #CACitrusExperience comes back around again.
2 cups citrus peel (see “tips”)
6 1/2 cups sugar (6 cups for cooking, 1/2 cup for coating)
6 cups water
Making the citrus strips:
Cut the top and bottom off of each piece of citrus, score the peel into quarters lengthwise and gently remove peel (including white pith) in one piece from each quarter, reserving fruit for another use. You can cut away some of the white pith, but the blanching part of this recipe will take away the bitter taste.
Cut peel lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips (if using grapefruit, cut peel in half crosswise first). Put peel in a large bowl and cover with cold water, then soak for 1 hour. Drain in a colander.
Transfer peel to a wide 4- to 6-quart heavy pot. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, then drain in colander. Repeat blanching process two more times. Cover peel once more with cold water and simmer until skin side is tender, about 30 minutes, then drain in colander. Taste the citrus. If needed, blanch one more time.
Return pot to stovetop and add 6 cups sugar and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, until sugar is dissolved. Wash down any sugar crystals clinging to side of pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Add peel and simmer over low heat until translucent (about 45 minutes.) Remove from heat and let peel stand in syrup, uncovered, at room temperature, until cool to the touch. At this point you can dry and coat with sugar, or leave the citrus in the simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, removing, drying, and sugaring them in small batches, as needed.
Drying and coating with sugar:
Reheat syrup with peel over low heat just until syrup has liquefied (peel will have absorbed most of syrup), then drain peel in colander. Immediately spread peel, separating pieces, on 2 metal racks set in 2 shallow baking pans and dry peel, uncovered, until just barely sticky (2 to 4 hours).
Spread 1/2 cup of remaining sugar (if sugaring all peels) on a plate and roll each piece of peel in sugar to coat well, then transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Add more sugar as needed to coat remaining peel. (Pour sugar through a medium-mesh sieve occasionally to remove bits of peel and clumps of sugar.)
This recipe can be made with one kind of citrus, or a mixture. Some amounts that measure out to 2 cups for various varietals are: 12 lemons, 8 navel oranges, 5 grapefruit. Don’t forget other, less common citrus like Buddha’s hand, sliced kumquats, limes, or mandarins.
Candied peel keeps, layered between sheets of wax paper, in airtight containers at room temperature for 3 months.
If working in small batches to sugar, eyeball the amounts of sugar making sure each peel is coated evenly.
Keep the simple syrup, it’s super flavorful and can be used in citrusy cocktails and sorbets.