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
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.
Have a wonderful Christmas!