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Storing candied orange peels

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Last year I made candied orange peels and set them aside for Christmas gifts. By the time I was ready to wrap them up for giving they had developed fuzzy and colorful bits. =o

This year I'm making them again and looking for good advice about storing them. Unfortunately, the only advice I can google up is "an airtight container" but I'm not going to count on that.

Anyone know what they really require for long term storage or what I did wrong last year? I just followed the instructions to simmer them in a simple syrup until they were translucent. I dried them on racks until I *thought* they were dry and then I stored them without rolling in any additional sugar. I'd still prefer to avoid that additional sugar. ...but then I'd also like to avoid making them and then throwing them out too. ;>

Thanks in advance.

PS Fortunately, the syrup I boiled them in kept beautifully. We used it for months and months as a pancake/waffle syrup so it wasn't a total loss. The orange flavor was lovely.

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  1. That additional sugar will keep them from getting fuzzy. You don't have to actually roll them in sugar and let them dry, but store them in sugar, like you would a vanilla bean. Otherwise you have to store them in the syrup you candied them in.
    Do you have a dehydrate function on your stove? Use that, or a cool oven, because it can take a few days, depending on the weather, to really dry them well.
    Put them into a glass jar or plastic container, with the sugar, after they're dried. You can also keep them in the freezer.
    I bet the orange flavored syrup was lovely.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      The only problem with oven-based dehydration is that it evaporates some of the oils in the peel.

      1. re: Paulustrious

        Can't say I noticed that at all. The flavor and texture worked for me!

        1. re: Paulustrious

          I think that might effect dried orange peel to a small degree, but dehydrating is a very good way to preserve fruits and vegetables and I doubt whether you'll notice any loss of flavor, only loss of moisture.
          The deal with candied rind is that it needs to dry completely before storing. On the counter can take days. In the oven with dehydrate mode is faster. I don't think you're sacrificing any noticable loss of flavor by using the oven method with candied peel.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            And I'm not sure how volatile or even *available* the oils are to evaporate once they've been so saturated in sugar syrup.

            They certainly have migrated out into the syrup -- I'm sure that's what gives the syrup that light orange blossom aroma and flavor. But that much has happened well before the question of drying comes into the picture.

      2. I actually recommend rolling them in the extra sugar, if only because it keeps them from sticking together.

        I gave some to my sister last year. They were on my counter for a week and were fine when I brought them to her after-Christmas party. Six months later, she had another party and pulled my darn orange peels out of the freezer. They were fine!

        14 Replies
        1. re: katecm

          I didn't refrigerate mine last year or anything. I figured there was enough sugar in them to inhibit anything so I put them on a high shelf and left them for 10 days or a couple weeks.

          I think what I did is I failed to simmer them all the way to transparent. I didn't make that mistake this year. And I used bushwickgirl's suggestion of using the convection oven on dehydrate for a couple hours. This morning when I moved them from the rack to a storage container they were pretty separate.

          Tonight I'll dip half of them in chocolate. The other half will go in my Christmas cassata. I'm not anticipating having to store them too long this year.

          Thank you both for the suggestions. ;>

          1. re: rainey

            Yum, I love the peels dipped in chocolate. Glad it worked out, happy holidays!

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Well, thanks again for all your help!

              I'm actually still waiting to see how well it "worked out". I did them last night and left them out of the fridge to see if I managed a good temper. So far this morning I don't see any bloom. Good deal, because half of them are already packaged up to go in the mail. ;>

              Actually, if you ever have occasion to know, the ones that didn't get sugared for storage are really quite pretty with their smooth glossy surfaces that are broken by the random crystal that formed on its own. Cooking them on sufficiently and following your suggestion of using the oven dehydration feature really came together nicely. And I don't think they miss a *thing* from not having the additional sugar. If anything, it may help the citrus flavor keep it's own very nice character.

              I think next year I'll try slices with the fruit intact. Those were always so pretty in the candy counters of department stores when I was a kid.

              Let's see if I can post a pic of them. I confess my photography and staging are woesome but I plead at least some powerful distraction from the aroma wafting upward in my face. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2695/4...

              1. re: rainey

                Ooh, lovely, they look well-candied and very professional!
                I like the fruit-intact slices too.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  I found this recipe for doing slices of fruit: http://www.browniepointsblog.com/2009...

                  It takes time tho as this is a no-heat, nearly passive maceration in an increasingly dense sugar syrup. I think I'll plan to start these right after Thanksgiving next year and include some of the other wonderful things she suggests like apricots and pineapple.

                  The downside may be that the lovely syrup that boiling and simmering produces won't be a bi-product. Oh well, you don't get everything. ;>

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    When they do the whole slices or whole fruit, I think it is called glace' or glaceed.
                    Here are some nice whole clementines:
                    http://veganyumyum.com/2009/02/candie...
                    and another recipe:
                    http://www.melindalee.com/recipearchi...
                    I think this is the stuff in fruitcake--glaceed fruit.

                    1. re: BangorDin

                      Candied=glace fruit, yes.
                      You can make your own glaceed fruit for fruitcake, orange and lemon rind, angelica, grapefruit rind, pineapple and citron, etc., none of that storebought stuff.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        A Chowhound 2004 thread about these pretty fruits : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/299456
                        Here you can see whole melons and pineapples done
                        http://www.lilamand.com/sc_catalogue.php
                        --beautiful.

                        1. re: BangorDin

                          Wow! That whole candied pineapple really is something!

                        2. re: bushwickgirl

                          I have always loved candied citron. Alas! this year there is no candied fruit to be found for things like fruitcakes, stollens and my cassata. And I've never seen a fresh citron in my life!

                          1. re: rainey

                            I've never seen a fresh one in the US either, but I did see them in London. I think they're "just" being introduced to growers in the US; mostly grown in Spain, Morocco, Turkey, warmer climes like those. So we're stuck buying it here.
                            I think you live in a fairly warm climate, right? Maybe you could look into planting a citron tree.
                            How come no candied fruit in your neighborhood this year?

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              Not my neighborhood. To the best of my knowledge, the greater Los Angeles area.

                              I dunno why not. The war on fruitcake? Grocers scaling back on non-essentials to hedge against the economy? The amount of sugar in a calorie conscious culture? I just know I couldn't find any in the big markets or specialty ones. There is a big restaurant supply that would probably have had candied fruits but it's quite a drive and I decided I could do my own oranges and live without the rest for one cake.

                              I will miss candied citron tho. It's such a distinctive flavor and, for me, kinda signature to cannoli filling. ... but then I was just in an Italian deli that does cannoli yesterday bemoaning the fact that I couldn't get citron and she said she never puts any candied fruit in her filling. ::shrug::

                              1. re: rainey

                                Mm, interesting. A bit concerning, too.
                                This year for fruitcake I made my favorite Guiness cake with sultanas and candied orange peel and that's it, due in part to my perpetual state of poverty. I hadn't noticed a lack of candied fruit in the markets, but it's not readily sold in my hood, anyway; as it's not part of the culture or flavor of Bushwick.
                                I wonder about the availability elsewhere in the city, but as you probably know, you can get just about anything in NY.

                    2. re: rainey

                      Gorgeous!

              2. there is a great cookbook with a candied orange peel recipe that worked for me this past summer. the book is soul food kitchen by bryant terry who combines vegan, soul food, and music. even if you are not a vegetarian, (i'm not) his recipes are wonderful. anyway, i used his candied orange peel recipe with organic orange rinds that I saved quartered in my fridge in air tight containers. you simmer in the simple syrup (i used organic cane sugar) then when almost all of the syrup has been absorbed by the oranges, cool a bit and scrape the pith off the inside of rind with a teaspoon. then i put them in a bowl of the same cane sugar, tossed them to coat and dried them on a baking rack overnight. i think the sugar is important for proper preservation. I had at least 50 pcs when i was finished and they kept well at room temp they didn't last the whole summer anyway...

                1. ok so this is really new and interesting to me, so i've been wondering for the past week as I peel my clementines, can I use this peel in the same way. I'm thinking yes, but since it is so much thinner with less rind I'm thinking I will have a shorter cooking / blanching time. Anybody worked with candied clementines? thanks

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: geminigirl

                    You know, I don't have an answer for you but water and sugar are so cheap that experimenting wouldn't have much risk. ;>

                    As you say, you probably wouldn't have to blanch them for long and you could skip the step of removing excess pulp.

                    If you check the link for the cold maceration link I put above, I believe she tried or speculated about doing whole clementines. That takes a considerable amount of time but, just think, you'd be enjoying clementines when they're well gone. ;>

                    Hope you'll report on however whatever you do works!

                    1. re: geminigirl

                      Hey - I just found this discussion today 'cause I started looking online for a source for candied citron to make panforte...after running around to all the levels of food purveyors in Chicago (from basic to specialty) & finding that this once-easily-available stuff has completely disappeared from stores! Anyway the original discussion is a year old but so engaging I have to put in my 2 cents. I have been making candied orange, lemon and grapefruit peel for several years now - mostly around Christmas when the fruits are in season. I haven't reached the point yet where I have achieved mastery/ controlled consistency, but I have learned a few things. My experience is that thin peels with no pith at all (like Clementines and tangerines) do not work well for candying - I have found that a little pith is necessary to avoid a "fruit leather" result. I do not remove pith except from grapefruits, from which I thin down but do not entirely remove it, and only because their pith is so thick. And they are delicious. In fact, I love candied grapefruit peel even more than candied orange peel. Last year I started saving the sugar syrup and using it to make fruit ices (mixed with juice). The tartness of the syrup contributed to producing a fantastic ice, and I recommend trying this. (Just mix your by-product citrus syrup with juice, freeze halfway (several hours), break up before it ices solid, and stir or beat it several times over a period of a day, after which it should not ice solid again).

                      1. re: violetjane

                        vj, i don't know if i understood you correctly but if you are saying that clememtines don't candy well, i disagree. here is my recipe, just completed. i'm happy w/ it.:

                        Mine are all finished now, and the 'soft' pieces firmed up fine after 2-3 days of drying on a rack. What i did:

                        CANDIED CLEMENTINE PEELS

                        Peel(pith included) from 1.5 @ 5lb.boxes of clementines(refrigerate peels in plastic bag in frig as you eat through the boxes!)

                        7 c. sugar

                        9 c. water

                        Put peel in pot of water to cover. With lid on, bring to boil, scoop into colander, drain.Repeat 2-3 more times, tasting to make sure most bitterness has been removed. Drain peel in colander. Combine sugar and water and boil to 220 degrees. With a wet pastry brush kept in a bowl of cold water, wash down any side crystallization on the pan, if and when it forms. Add peel, bring to boil; turn down to simmer for 45 minutes. dunking peels down in, 3 or 4 times.Remove peel, lay out on oiled cookie racks to dry for a few days until not soft but not leathery tough. Store in bin.

                        ** To neatly peel clementines: Cut off small stem end at top. With serrated knife, cut straight down from top to bottom, cutting through skin and pith but not cutting into flesh.Repeat these slices at 1.5" intervals. Peel off skin in one piece (looks like a lettuce cup or open peony in shape.) Now cut petals through to the 'south pole', destroying the bowl and producing a group of petals/clementine peel slices.