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candied citrus questions

two things . . .

do you blanch your rind before simmering it in sugar water? I never have, but I just read it in Lebovitz's book. I don't usually do more bitter peels, so *not* doing it has not been a problem.
Am I saving time or missing a crucial step?

what do you do with all your candied citrus peel?
I don't make many desserts so usually just eat the candied peels as a treat.
(They are awesomely sweet, fresh, and bitey on a long car trip.)

make that three . . .
I'm thinking about cocktails to make with the syrup left from orange and kumquat peels

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  1. I've always blanched 3-4 times - per the recipes I've had - you actually boil about 20 minutes each time, starting w/ cold water.

    I used to make candied grapefruit peel every Christmas to send to my grandmother, but since she's died I don't make it much anymore. I do love it though and have used the syrup in cocktails.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      The syrup is also nice drizzled over not-so-sweet cakes or breads...like bananna bread, pound cake, etc.

    2. I've always blanched my citrus peel before candying, three times for lemon, orange, mandarin, etc. and more like five times for grapefruit.
      In the blanching process, I bring the juiced "cups" up each time to a boil (from fresh, cold water) and then drain. On the last blanching (either the third or fifth time, depending) I let the cups simmer until tender enough to be pierced easily by a small knife.
      Haven't looked at DL recipe in a while, but most of his methods are pretty reliable.
      Also, the blanching process, and subsequent cooking until tender, helps to insure a tender final product. Just make sure the sugar syrup stage stays at a low, slow simmer throughout.
      *Sometimes grapefruit peel has more water in the rind, if it tastes waterey to you at the end of the candying stage you can turn up the heat for a few minutes to evaporate a little of the water. Then dry overnight on a rack before sugaring.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rabaja

        I did learn the hard way that it is better not to do the blanching with the strips - but with larger pieces or cups as rabaja suggests - the strips tend to fall apart a little if they go through being boiled so many times.

      2. DL uses juiced fruits cut in half, and one long boil - except grapefruit and pomelo, which require four. Cut the halves in half, remove the pith, cut in strips and do the sugar boil. I'll have to try it that way next time. And he suggests adding corn syrup to the sugar solution. shocking....

        I blythly sliced up my kumquats, cut out the innards, sugar boiled the lovely little rings
        But they are super tender to start with.

        I peeled strips of zest with a paring knife off the tangelos, and direct sugar boiled them as well

        And used some star anise-infused sugar for the outside dusting on some of them.

        What do you use the candied zests for? I'm thinking I'll make some custard pot or something to put them on...

        3 Replies
        1. re: pitu

          are you just using any ole fruit or being all anal and using organic? I keep throwing out my lemon rinds thinking they'll be yucky because they're not organic and I'm starting to doubt my own sanity.

          1. re: orangewasabi

            You can candy any fruit, but you'd probably feel better about eating the rind/skin of something that is actually organic.
            It's not a matter of taste, but you'll sleep better, and be more inclined to share with children.

            1. re: orangewasabi

              I candy whatever, but I usually have organic fruit. I started this thread 'cause I'm tired of throwing all those peels away!

              I ate a bit of candied tangelo rind this morning . . .
              it tasted like those gel "orange slice" candies, but real.
              (made with no blanching, but I wash the fruit in hot water if it might be waxed)

          2. How important is it to remove the pith from the peel slices?
            (And if it's very important, is there are easy way to do this?)

            7 Replies
            1. re: racer x

              Wow, old post!
              I feel it's pretty important to remove some of the inner pulp and pith before cutting into strips and candieing.
              I take the blanched cups (see above) and once cool, scoop out the pulp and pith with a teaspoon. You don't want to remove too much, or you'll have a thin, dry finished product.
              There's more to scoop with grapefruit peel, and less with thin mandarins. Lemon can be dry if you scoop too much too.
              Candied peel is easy to do, and just as easy to mess up.
              Trial and error, and ask lots of questions.

              1. re: racer x

                I don't remove any of the pith. I like the candied peel to have a touch of bitter marmalade taste to it.

                Complete instructions and photos here: http://eatingfloyd.blogspot.com/2010/...

                1. re: morwen

                  Made some candied grapefruit peels last night (or at least started them).
                  Found a recipe online that doesn't require removal of all of the pith.

                  Harvested peels and cut or pulled off only the thicker bits of pith adhering to the undersides of some of the peels.
                  Blanched peels 4 times, then simmered in syrup 2 hours. Allowed to cool to room temp. Put peels with syrup in refrigerator to finish up later.

                  When I tasted the peels just before refrigerating them, they were sweet and mildly citrusy, but still a tad too bitter.

                  1. re: racer x

                    Grapefruit peels are, in my opinion, the most bitter of the citrus except maybe for Seville oranges. I don't work with grapefruit anymore because my husband is on meds that are adversely affected by it. But of the citrus, grapefruit was the one that I would remove a bit of the pith from but not all.

                    1. re: morwen

                      A bit off topic, but I've been nibbling on a few bits of the candied grapefruit peels in syrup every few days. (Never bothered to dry them out and dust them with granulated sugar.) Despite the slight bitterness, they are kind of addictive.
                      When I eat them it creates strange sensations in my mouth. I've been trying to think of the way to describe the sensation, and it only occurred to me today that it is very similar to the numbing sensation (้บป I think) of Sichuan peppercorns.

                      So you get sweet, sour, bitter, and numbing with these treats, along with the citrus aroma and flavors. The tingling of the tastebuds lasts for many minutes after a bite.

                      1. re: racer x

                        I totally get that ma la tingling thing, esp with the less boiled orange peels I did this year. It happens with raw peel too...

                  2. re: morwen

                    I don't remove pith either. It's half the flavor. Blanch 2 or 3 times then simmer in the syrup.

                    I like the flavor for munching and, for me, they're essential in cannoli filling and holiday breads. They're also really good dipped in chocolate -- not only do the chocolate, fruit and slight bitterness complement one another beautifully but the glistening color of the fruit is simply gorgeous contrasted with the dark gloss of chocolate.

                2. Remove white inner layer as you would for marmalade. Blanche. Candy. Dip half in high-end Lindt bittersweet( their outlet is 10 min away). Life's short, so don't waste anytime sweating whether the rind is organic. You'll eat it up fast.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    "as you would for marmalade"

                    I've never made marmalade, so that doesn't help.

                  2. I have another question about the finished product. What should the texture be like? Soft / tender / pliable, or more firm / almost breakable when you bend a strip in half? I made some grapefruit this weekend. It's very tasty, but much different then the batch of oranges I made last year and i'm curious as to why - this year more tender, last year much more firm. There was not a lot of pith left on either versions. This year I simmered the grapefruit strips till they were translucent, little over an hour. I'm thinking if I had let the syrup evaporate down more, the slices would have been harder, vs tender like they are now. I used MS recipie this year. I think last year the syrup was much thicker then this year. So, i may have answered my own question...

                    I'm also wondering if the texture will impact how I should store them. Last year they were much drier and I put the oranges in a glass jar and left in the cupboard and they are still fine, just a year older. I'm wondering if the softer version this year will be more suseptible to growth as there seems to be more liquid in them. Do you think they would store well in a glass jar on the shelf, or better refrigerated (but i'm thinking the might weep) or as some have mentioned on the shelf but in sugar, or finally the freezer? Thanks for any feedback suggestions!

                    And btw, with last year's oranges, I either ate them plain or mixed them into baking. I just made a really good gingersnap cookie with chopped orange added to the batter and the cookies are really tasty!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: geminigirl

                      Length of cooking time can make a difference in tender/firm. The longer you cook them the more tender they become and I discovered (oops) that you can cook them too long and they become mushy. For me the perfect time is when the edges of the peel are becoming translucent but you can still see an "al dente" interior strip. How did you dry them? Was that perhaps different in length of time or method? I think grapefruit rind is thicker than orange rind in general except for navel oranges and maybe that was the difference. But either way, if they've been well coated with sugar before storage you shouldn't have a problem with them. Keep an eye on them and if they begin to weep either try drying them longer or store them layered in sugar.

                      1. re: morwen

                        Hi, thanks for the advice, I dried them on a rack after sugaring them, then did a bit in a very low oven. The problem became the sugar, which almost formed a crust on the rinds...I crumbled a lot of it off and it was soft underneath so I drid a bit more and they are better...I continue to nibble them as I walk through the kitchen...

                        1. re: geminigirl

                          Okay, replying way late but as it's citrus season again....

                          I did this too, a couple of years back -- left some rind on, dried in the oven, coated in sugar, and then stored in a jar. There was definitely a sugar crust and soft pith underneath and while they kept fine for a few months, by summer (and it's not that hot where I am) they had become stinky and moldy smelling.

                          Last year I did the Calabrian-style peels in Rosetta Costantino's book, which involves scraping off a lot but not all of the pith, and kept them in the freezer, and they're still good nine months later. And yes, there are only some left because they took hellishly long to make and I'm hoarding them for gifts!

                    2. Anyone have advice on making whole candied citrus? This video was linked in a recent chow thread:


                      I thought those whole candied citrus fruits looked absolutely luscious! As I'm faced with an orange, a lemon, a tangerine, and a calamansi tree all bearing fruit right now, I'd love to try this if I can find a good technique!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: modthyrth

                        I came across these posts when I was looking at candied peel recipes last fall: http://thecookinthefamily.blogspot.co...

                        I found them through another blog (I can't remember whose right now) where the recipe had been tried and the blogger was not exactly enchanted. Scrolling through comments it appears that a longer cook time can actually make whole candied citrus more bitter. I haven't tried it yet though I'm certainly attracted but if you do, you might want to be aware of the cook time/bitter factor.

                        1. re: morwen

                          Thanks! I'm going to give it a try with some of our bounty. Right now I'm attempting a technique for candying slices of citrus that I found somewhere online (pretty pictures! Can't find it again, of course!). It starts with boiling the sliced fruit for a few minutes, then immersing in a sugar solution. For two weeks, each day I pour off the syrup and add another 100 grams of sugar, heat it until dissolved, and pour back over the slices. At this point, about 3/4 through the process, I'm guessing I've created some sort of fermented product. It fizzes when I pour the liquid like I'm pouring a bottle of champagne in the pot. I don't remember that being mentioned on the recipe I'm following!