If you can peel an orange and boil water you can make candied orange peel!
I feel very fortunate to have several citrus trees in my yard and I take full advantage of the bountiful harvest. There’s something special about picking fruit fresh off the tree to enjoy on a moments notice and I am grateful. Sicilians use the entire orange (we waste nothing) and in a myriad of recipes such as, fresh fennel and orange salad, macerated oranges and citrus caprese . The peels can be used to make a poaching liquid for poached figs with ricotta and a Sicilian liquor known as Arancello. Orange zest adds brightness and flavor to torta di riso and bittersweet chocolate and orange biscotti.
Candied orange peel is not just a garnish (flourless chocolate-orange olive oil cake), it adds flavor and texture to cookies (pistachio and candied orange biscotti ) and many other desserts, as well as being a sweet treat on its own or dipped in dark chocolate (a thoughtful gift any time of year).
And when the citrus season has come and gone, my family will enjoy vanilla bean olive oil scones with homemade marmellata di arance (orange marmalade).
- 6 organic oranges (thick-skinned)
- 4 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for tossing with finished peels
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Slice off both ends of the oranges and discard. The easiest way to peel them is by scoring each into 4 sections.
- From end to end, cut through the outer peel and the pith (the white part), being careful not to pierce the fruit. Now, peel each of the four sections. You will have 4 pieces. Cut the peels into thin (1/4-inch) strips.
- Using a large saucepan, add the peels and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Using a strainer, drain the water and cover the peels with cold water again and bring to a boil. Drain and then do this step one more time. This cook, rinse and repeat method (a total of 3 times) is important because it softens the texture of the peel and mellows the bitterness of the pith.
- Using the same saucepan (peels are still in the strainer), add the sugar and the water to the pot and whisk together. Bring to a simmer and cook 9-10 minutes. Add the peels and simmer for 45 minutes. The orange peels will be translucent. Drain the peels but, save the syrup as it can be used in other recipes. Once the peels have drained well, toss with sugar. Using tongs or your fingers, transfer to a rack in a single layer to dry. (I place the rack on a parchment-lined sheet-pan). Let dry overnight. This recipe makes approximately 4 cups depending on the size of the oranges.