Candied Orange Peel
Candied orange peel, aside from being delicious, is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and calcium. It also speaks to a life style that minimizes our environmental footprint. You eat the flesh, you eat the peel and you waste none. Well, except the seeds. I also like its versatility—enjoy the candied peel as is, dip in melted dark chocolate or chop and add to cakes, cookies or breads. You can use it to decorate a cake and other desserts. Sometimes, I add some white wine, a bit of the syrup, cilantro sauce and dash of red pepper flakes to the candied peel to make a delicious sauce or marinade for fish.
- 3 oranges
- Water to cover
- 1 cup sugar + ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (optional)
- 3 cloves (optional)
- Pinch salt
- Wash and pat dry the oranges. Gently scratch the top of each with a grater to just roughen. With a sharp knife, make 4 length-wise cuts of just the peel from top to bottom to create four equal sections. Gently remove the sections of peel intact. Place in a bowl and cover with tepid water. Place a plate or a heavy lid on top to keep the peel immersed. Let soak for several hours or overnight.
- Drain the peel, rinse in water and place in a medium size pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse, then repeat cooking in fresh water two more times. This will rid the rinds of the bitterness. After the third time, drain and squeeze water from peel by gently pressing against side of a colander. Cut each piece length-wise into strips about ¾-inch wide, depending on size of the oranges. Place 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup water and optional vanilla sugar and cloves in a heavy-bottom medium pot. Cook on medium heat to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Add the peel and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peel looks translucent. At this point the peel has absorbed some of the sugar. Be careful not to caramelize the sugar. There should be a gentle bubble only and the syrup should be clear. Turn off the flame and let sit for about 30 minutes. Carefully drain the peel on a metal rack for about 20 to 30 minutes. Reserve the syrup in a glass jar and keep in the refrigerator for other uses. Place the leftover sugar on a plate and roll each strip in it. Another alternative is to let the peel dry longer without the sugar, so it appears glazed on top. Either way, place cooled peels in a glass container, cover tightly and keep refrigerated.