Making candied orange peel uses a part of the citrus fruit that’s typically discarded – the peel. This recipe for candied orange peel gives a version of the delicious orange candy that’s a little more crisp on the outside.
They have the look and crunch of good sweet potato fries, but they are definitely made with oranges.
What Does Candied Orange Peel Taste Like?
If you’ve never had a candied citrus peel before, the whole concept of eating a peel may seem rebellious. But, like those who love to suck the marrow out of beef bones will tell you, sometimes the most unexpected parts of your food can yield amazing results!
This treat is sweet from all of the sugar that goes into the recipe – and it is quite a lot – that turns into a caramel. The candy gets tanginess and tart from the citrus that you make it with, typically oranges.
I got the original recipe for candied orange peels from VeganBaking.net. Instead of the traditional smooth candied peel that the original recipe makes, I made crusty caramel coated peels.
How to Make Candied Orange Peel (and Grapefruit Peel)
To make the candied citrus peel, you need to first blanch the peel four times (don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to do this below). It’s somewhat time-consuming but necessary because it removes a lot of the bitterness from the peels and pith. When you’re done, the fruit doesn’t taste anything like it would if you just took a bite into it.
Once you’re done blanching the peel and pith, you essentially make a caramel that sticks to the peels.
You end up with a chewy, crunchy citrus caramel candy that still has a slight bitterness to it to cut the sweet.
How to Prepare the Oranges
Begin by slicing your oranges in half. You can also use grapefruit or any other citrus fruit; I mixed a grapefruit in when I made the recipe.
Scrape out the fruit pulp (you can always juice it to have freshly-squeezed orange juice) but leave the white pith.
Cut the top and bottom ends off of the fruit to remove rough parts of the peel.
Slice the fruit halves into strips that resemble French fries.
Place the slices into a medium-sized pot and fill with water to cover the peels.
Bring the water to a boil, then use a colander to drain the water off.
Return the peels to the pot, fill with water, bring to a boil, and drain three more times.
How to Make The Caramel
Place sugar, two cups of water, and the peels back into the pot and bring to 250 F, stirring periodically. (This will take about 30 minutes; use a candy thermometer to make sure that the temperature hits that mark.)
Hold the temperature constant until the mixture in the pot is a thick caramel rather than a syrup.
How to Prepare the Candied Orange Peels
Use tongs to remove the peels from the hot liquid and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Candied Orange Peel Recipe
- 5 navel oranges
- 1 grapefruit Use all oranges or all grapefruit if you prefer. You could also try this with other citrus fruit like tangerines, lemons, or pomelos.
- 6 cups sugar
- Cut the fruit in half and juice it. (You won't need the juice, so save it to drink!)
- Scrape out the pulp but leave the white pith.
- Cut the ends off of the fruit to remove the rough parts of the peel.
- Cut the peel into slices that look like French fries.
- Place the orange peel slices into a medium-sized pot and fill it with water to cover the peels.
- On high heat, bring the peels to a boil, then use a colander to drain the water off.
- Boil and drain three more times.
- Place sugar, two cups of water, and the orange peels back into the pot on medium heat.
- Bring the mixture up to 250 F, stirring occasionally; this will take about 30 minutes. I recommend that you use a candy thermometer so as not to burn the sugar.
- Keep the pot on the stove and hold at that temperature until the sugar is a thick caramel and doesn't resemble a liquid syrup.
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Using tongs, remove the peels from the pot and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Cool to room temperature and serve as a snack, or cut the peels up to use in stollen or panettone.