To be perfectly honest, I’ve wanted to candy something citrusy for a while now. It wasn’t until last weekend while researching recipes that I realized how easy the process was. Done. Aaaaand done.
The process amounts to boiling the crap out of the lemon peels in water, seeping it sugar-water for a while, only to end the process in a bowl of sugar flipping the lemon peel around wildly.
I used a standard vegetable peeler and a citrus zester (like this one) to achieve the long peels and curly cues. Be careful to not peel the white pith of the lemon in the process…you don’t want that part…it’s bitter and blech.
I was nearly sure that this boiling and simmering and flipping process was going to decimate the curly cues, but boy was I wrong! On the contrary, the curly cues were the best of the candied peels! The long wide peels lost their shape and curled in on themselves in the most unattractive way. (We’ll call those slices “rustic” in an attempt to mask what they really were: ugly.)
I hope you have as much fun as I had with this process! No citrus fruit is safe now…no key lime pie will go ungarnished…
Candied Lemon Peels
From Epicurious, 2005
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemon in vertical strips. Try to remove only the yellow zest, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. Save the lemon for another use.
In a small saucepan, combine the peels with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain off the water. Again add 2 cups cold water, bring to a boil, and drain. Repeat the process a third time, then remove the peels from the pan and set aside.
Measure 2 cups of the sugar into the pan and add 1 cup water, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Add the peels and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the peels are tender and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the peels and let cool.
Measure the remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a medium bowl and add the peels. Toss to coat. Using a fork or your fingers, remove the peels one at time, gently shaking each to remove excess sugar. Store in an airtight container. The peels will keep for several weeks (if you don’t eat them in far shorter time).