Thursday, December 22, 2011

Candied Orange Spice Peels

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Since last week I've been going through several pounds (at least 30 lbs, if not more!) of oranges... washing, cutting, peeling, slicing and blending.

My kitchen has been full of sunshine and wonderful smells of delicious oranges! Yummm!

Can't get enough of the smells and beautiful colors, but I've had enough of all that work! LOL! 

You may be wondering when I'm going to get to the point. Right?

Well, we have several citrus trees giving us more than enough oranges and I was wondering what to do with it all! Especially the peels. One day I was browsing through my Facebook and saw one of my friends posted that she was making candied orange peels. Of course, that grabbed my attention.

Candied orange peels?! Honestly, never heard of that!

I quickly googled for a recipe and found one at use real butter (Beautiful photography!). Honestly, I was very surprised to find out that making candied peels is so easy... just a little time consuming  ;o)

Seriously, the work was well worth it... for Christmas we will be giving away small bags of these treats to all our Honduran neighbors & friends, the kids we work with and missionaries we know. I've already had a few kids taste the candied peels and they LOVE them!

While I was waiting for the raw sugar water to get hot... a great idea popped into my head. I  threw in some cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and chunks of ginger to bring about a spicy flavor. Success! Delicious, warm spices drifted up to my nose... oh yum!

After pouring the peels in and simmering them for forever... they came out golden, glazed and sticky. Dropped them in a pan of cane sugar and they separated beautifully. 

When Jon took his first bite of the sugar covered peel... he said the texture and flavor reminded him of those old classic sugar-crusted gumdrops!

I rolled some batches with cane sugar and some without. I am thinking the ones without the sugar crust would be fabulous in some oatmeal cookies. Hmmm, maybe I'll have a recipe coming on that idea!

I made my first batch for a Christmas party for the missionary women. They were a hit! I put the orange peels in small plastic bags and tied them up with a cute ribbon along with the recipe & suggestions... simple and easy. I would rather packet the orange peels in parchment paper or glass jars, but I am in a country where those are not easily found and often expensive. Boohoo. At least they looked cute in the plastic bags!

I am doing the same when passing them out to our Honduran neighbors and kids. I put on different tags that say, "Feliz Navidad!! Bendiciones! Familia de Jon & Marillyn Beard".

Can you believe how much I've made?! LOL! Next year I would like to plan ahead and have some girls help me.

Wish the picture of the gift bag looked a little better, but its good enough and you get the idea!

So, after all that glorious work.... I was left with 6 1/2 quarts of dark, dark brown, orange flavored syrupy sweetness! So, now I have plans for those!! Caramel popcorn, granola, candied nuts, hot chocolate, pancakes and more.


Candied Orange Spice Peels

4 oranges (or any thick skinned citrus fruit)
3 cups sugar (rapadura, coconut sugar or unrefined cane sugar)
1 cup water
1-2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
5-10 whole cloves (optinoal)
1 chunk of ginger (optional)
cane sugar for rolling

Quarter oranges into wedges. Carefully slice or peel the flesh away from the orange peels (I generally don’t like to remove too much pith, only if it is really thick). Slice the peel of each wedge lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips.

Place peels in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat on high until water comes to a boil. Pour off the water. Repeat two more times.

Meanwhile, mix 1 cup water with 3 cups of sugar in a large saucepan or pot. Add optional spices. Bring to boil over high heat until temps reaches about 230F. Stir it to make sure sugar is dissolved. Add peels and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until peels are translucent (30 minutes or longer - about 50 mintues at my 6,500 ft. elevation). You will want to stir the peels every so often.

Drain peels in a colander (catch all the syrup in a bowl!). Add sugar into a deep, wide bowl. Use tongs to move peels into the bowl and roll in sugar, if desired. Set on a rack or wax covered cookie sheet to dry for 4-5 hours OR 2 days (best results). I put my peels in my dehydrator and set it on low heat (95-115F). They came out great!

You can now eat the candied peels! If you won’t be eating them within a week, store them packed in sugar in an airtight container.


  • Don't throw out the sugar! Use it to sweeten your morning coffee or drink for some yummy orange-flavored sweetness.
  • Chopped up your orange peels and mix it with some nuts.
  • Don't throw out the syrup! Use it over your pancakes, sweeten drinks, make caramel popcorn and more.
  • Instead of rolling the peels in sugar. Allow them to dry for up to 2 days and dip each peel into some dark chocolate! Allow it to harden before storing in an airtight container.
Don't forget you can order Just Making Ice Cream ebook for $8 through this month! Also, enter for chances to win gluten-free & savory cookbooks!!

Have a wonderful Christmas!


  1. Your post brought a smile to my face because I was just making candied orange peels today too, but dipped in chocolate at the end. It's one more item I'm tossing in my real food gift bags for the family.

    Next time I do this I'll have to try your recipe. It looks great and your pictures are wonderful too!

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Mare did you grate all that sugar? Props to you that must have taken forever! If it's the same as poiloncillo that stuff is hard! I need to make some with all the orange peels we have here! :)

  3. Theresa - yes, I though about dipping some of mine in chocolate, but they aren't cheap here. So, trying to be frugal ;o) LOL!! I LOVE the spices I added in... really warms up the flavors.

    Katie - yeah, here they call their raw sugar rapadura. While in Costa Rica they call it Panela or Tapa de Dulce. Yeah, it was a lot of work. I was able to get free flowing raw sugar, but couldn't find enough. So ended up getting two blocks of rapadura (also known as poiloncillo & panela). Yeah, you SHOULD do it with the girls!! Its easy, just time consuming. BUT would be great to teach them because they can make them at home and sell them. That it what I a praying about doing... taking in some of the teen girls who are not going to school and teach them how to make these. They would make a pretty good living off of it!

  4. I also might try this. But will have to buy the fruit first. I will try it with grapefruit, oranges, limes.(would mandarines work?? they are a little thinner skinned)
    What a neat way not to waste the peels . but make a treat. I like your idea of using the dried peels in cookies


  5. Michelle - yes, the mandarines would be too thin. Hope you try it out! Its so good. I was actually surprised that it wasn't too sweet for me. I usually don't like things too sweet, but it was good!

  6. I was excited to see your recipe on Pinterest, because a friend recently gave me a small bag of candied orange peels and we LOVE them :) She suggested I dip them in some melted chocolate, and I just happened to have some Ghiradelli chocolate chips we brought back from the U.S. Soooooo yummy! Too late for me to make 'em and give 'em for Christmas but I think they'd make nice gifts for other times of the year too!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  7. You are such a lucky lady to have all those oranges - I do envy your climate.

  8. This is genius to add sweet spices to the syrup for blanching citrus peels. Thank you!

  9. Kim - yes they are yummy! Hope you will make some next Christmas!

    Donna - thanks and my pleasure!

    Single PAP - Thanks and hope you try it out yourself!

    Amee - LOL! Thanks, but sometimes I wonder what to do with it all. There's so much and not enough time & help to get it all done!

    Sharyn - Thank you!

  10. My question is, what do you do with all of the leftover orange sections? You said you went through about 30 pounds of oranges and that would be a lot left over. Living in NYC, I would have to purchase bags of oranges, very expensive, and don't want to waste too much, living alone and can't really eat that much. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hello!
      Yes, I have done two things with the oranges after taking the skin off...

      1) Blend them in a blender and drain through a fine sieve to have orange juice. Then I use them to make popsicles, smoothies or freeze the extra juice in ice cube trays (great to throw in smoothies too!).

      2) Sliced them into smaller sections and dehydrated them ( Then I would use them to flavor water or tea. You can also grind them into powder (

      I would start with one bag of oranges and give it a try... it is so worth it when its all done!

  11. Hi, i may be too late in responding for you to see this but you inspired me and i've made some to give as Christmas pressies this year! I wondered if they last a while without going off? Ta! Cleo

    1. Hello Cleo! Oh yes, they last a long while. I believe I had some in a small jar 6 months later and they were still delicious. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  12. Thank you for this awesome recipe! I saw this last year and made them right away. My family devoured them. It was so fun giving them to friends. They wee very appreciated. This year, we happen to have a orange grove with about 14 trees to enjoy, so I am trying out a batch today with coconut sugar. I was just curious, is it ok to skip the peel boiling step to preserve nutrients or is it pretty important?

  13. Hello Liz! Aw, thanks for the compliment! So glad your family enjoyed them... I will be making these after Christmas myself! I'm know the coconut sugar will be divine! Very caramel-ly ;)

    I'm not sure I understand your question... Are you talking about the step where you boil the peels in water and dumb out the water? If so, NO, you should not skip this step. This step helps remove the bitterness from the white pith and softens the peel enough that it gives you that wonderful melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. Enjoy!!

  14. Hi,
    A wonderful idea. Thanks for a great recipe. I can't wait to try this out. This is my thing. I'm already on with Jaggary (raw unrefined sugar), which is in vogue in India where I belong to, in almost everything discarding refined sugar.

    Incidentally I'm stuck at one place to ponder when you choose to boil the peels 2-3 times & throw the residue water. I feel a simple blanching or doing a pressure cooking thing with little water should suffice while retaining the residue water if any, my wife aught to know better. This process I would prefer to retain vitamins, minerals if any but above all to retain full Pectin in the peel I'm concerned about which might leech out in the process to some extent if not completely. The natural flavor may also be retained.

    The point is Pectin is useful, as I have read on the web, to detoxify the body of harmful metals, including most dreaded Mercury, as a chelating agent. The Pectin has been found to be most favored natural treatment in a detoxification program. So your recipe would serve the purpose of cleansing the body as well in bargain because we are never free of harmful metals in our body.This is really a gift you have given to us - a good waste management too.

    I'm just-thinking-loud. Please help me with this. I may be wrong.


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