Sunday, March 1, 2009

Candied Citrus Peel

This is the first winter that I have ever "candied" anything. As I have noted elsewhere, I am totally addicted to the candied ginger I've been making and try to ALWAYS have some in the fridge. I really think it is helping Jun and I through the cold season, as we have some a couple of times a day for "dessert". The other day I had a sore throat and took a spoonful of the HOT ginger syrup that was a byproduct. It really really helped!

But...other than ginger, I have been doing some citrus candying too. The first was yuzu. (Please click the link and scroll down to the SECOND picture. It looks much yummier!) A very popular - and pretty expensive (over $2.50 per piece of fruit at my market) fruit. was SOOOO wonderful.

Next, I tried lemons - as they were on SALE - two for a dollar. Those peels were quite hard to prepare, and, though it turned out alright in the end...maybe I won't make this again.

Last week, our friend Kaoru, who plays with Jun on Friday afternoons while I teach a bit, brought dekopon. Click the link for a picture. The peel smelled sweet and orangey, so I took a bite of the raw peel. "THIS," I said, "needs to be candied! It is DELICIOUS." So, I proceeded to do so. And...Let's just say I was shocked to see how expensive these also are in the store, as I so wanted to make MORE AND MORE of it. (three for 6 dollars).
Here's a nice out-of-focus "soft image" of the Candied Dekopon!

Here is my basic method of making

Candied Citrus Peel

  1. Peel the fruit

  2. Use a spoon or paring knife and scrape/cut away all of the white membrane

  3. Cut the peel in thin strips

  4. Boil the peel in a bit of water for 5 minutes (to take away some of the natural bitterness)

  5. Drain and rinse the peel

  6. Return peel to pan, and add the same amounts of sugar and water. 1/2 cup or 1 cup. (The syrup from the yuzu was OK to use, but the Dekopon was too bitter, so don't make too much and waste sugar, I say.)

  7. Bring sugar, water, and peel to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, and keeping an eye on it. Don't let it boil hard, but don't let it stop simmering either.

  8. Cover a cooling/baking rack with a mesh cloth/net (check your laundry section at the 100 yen store), and fish out the peel pieces and drain/cool on the rack. Let sit for 30 minutes.

  9. Roll each piece (using fingers as they are cold) in sugar (I use Japan's wet sugar), and place on a dry rack/net, or a plate.

  10. Let air dry for 1-3 days, of course sampling them daily to see if they are the "firmness" you like. Also, turn them over each day if they are on a plate.

  11. Store in a covered container in the fridge (don't know if you have to, but...I just do.)

This stuff is way too good! My Japanese FIL, nephew, and husband all loved it. Picky men that they are! And Jun keeps asking for it...but we are clean out!!! Sad smile.

Do you "candy" anything? If so, what? And, what method do you use????


Coffeegrl said...

I haven't candied anything before, but given the large number of oranges and lemons that my father-in-law grows, I think we should! I think we should be saving orange peel (for baking) and lemon peel (for cooking) and candied peel for eating....All rather than tossing the rinds. Right now, they squeeze the juice out of the fruits and then toss the rinds of all those lovely fruits. Seems such a waste! Thanks for sharing this idea!

Oh - and it sounds slightly similar to the process I used for making orange marmalade (that sweetening of the rinds with sugar, that boiling to take out some of the bitterness etc.)

Kim said...

I did a bit of googleing, and Martha Stewart had a nice and easier method of taking the "pith" off the peel, that made this last batch go a little easier. Cut the peel into wide strips, lay it flat and cut the white pith off. I preped one dekopon a night after we all shared it for dessert, and stored the peel in the fridge till they were all eaten. Then did a bigger batch at once. Sooo yummy!