Candied Blood Orange Peel
With access to amazing citrus like blood oranges for only a short amount of time, my intent is to extend the season as long as possible by preserving the fruit in some way. So I decided to try my hand at candying blood orange peels. I think they will be delicious chopped up in coconut macaroons or muffins.
Did you know that as early as the 16th century, Europeans used candying as a method to preserve fruit for storage through the winter or for fruit destined for use in sweets and cakes? That’s right! Seasonal fruits such as oranges, apricots, cherries and lemons were candied in honey, and later, with sugar after the Crusaders returned to Europe from the Middle East bearing what is now a kitchen staple.
It couldn’t be easier, simply simmer citrus rinds in water and sugar, and voila, candied rinds ready for use!
Blood orange rinds (reserved from making dehydrated citrus wheels)
Note: for every cup of rinds, use 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water.
Using a sharp paring knife, slice the blood oranges in half and smoothly cut the peel from the oranges. Carefully remove excess pith. Isn’t their color gorgeous?!
I have read on the Internet that you can remove bitterness from the peel by blanching in boiling water. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add the peels. Remove after 30-45 seconds and submerge into an ice bath. Drain and repeat up to three times. I didn’t have any ice so I skipped this step and my candied rinds are perfect.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Add the rinds and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the rinds in the syrup for 40 minutes, checking often to ensure the syrup does not evaporate and burn off.
When finished, the rinds should be soft and chewy, yet bright in color. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a drying rack. Let dry for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. If you’d like to coat them in granulated sugar, do so before drying. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Optional: melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate. Dip each peel into the chocolate, then set on a rack to dry. Place in refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight to set.
Note: Rather than discarding the the excess simple syrup, use it in cold fruit drinks or cocktails.
CANDIED BLOOD ORANGE WHEELS
If you’d rather candy the entire orange rather than just the rind, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Thinly slice the fruit and add to the skillet, arranging in a thin layer. Reduce heat to medium-low and barely simmer until the fruit becomes translucent, turning the slices occasionally, about 40 minutes. Allow the slices to cool in the syrup, turning occasionally. Candied blood orange slices can be kept in their poaching liquid up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Use a slotted spoon to drain off liquid before using.
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