I had fun playing around with my citrus peel while trying to make a good citrus sorbet the last week. I still haven’t acchieved the perfect mix of sugar and tang for my grapefruit sorbet, but I did strike gold playing with the grapefruit peels. After candying the peels of several grapefruits (the original sweet-tart candy!) I successfully moved on to oranges.
My candied orange zest was the best I’ve ever made. I remember from my past experiences, more struggle when trying to cut the peel off without any white pith remaining. I think my key this time was simply finding the right knife for the job. I used a cheap knife, whose special feature is really small serrations on the blade. This enabled me to saw back and forth on the oranges exactly as deep as I needed to get a substantial amount of peel with no white coming off with it.
The candied orange peels make for fantastic candy in and of themselves. The resulting sugar offers itself for a miriad of recipe possibilities, which are scheduled to come up this week…
Candy Orange Sugar
In a saucepan combine:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- juliened orange peel from four oranges- no white stuff attached
Stir to help begin dissolving the sugar, then let the heat do the rest of the work.
Bring the mixture to a boil and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Let cool and spoon the orange zest into a strainer. Let the orange flavored sugar syrup drip off (bottle this up and use to sweeten your summer iced teas,coffees, and sorbets) , and move the strainer of zest to hover over a piece of wax paper. Spoon granulated sugar over the syrupy zest while fluffying the zest with chopsticks. Continue to sugar and fluff till the zest bits are adequately coated and not too clumped up. Return the excess sugar, and spread out the sugared zest strips on the wax paper. Allow to dry at room temperature for 1-2 hours, depending on humidity.
When the zest is dry it will feel almost brittle in texture. Take a couple spoonfulls and grind to a powder in a spice dedicated coffee grinder. Don’t have a dedicated coffee grinder? Just make sure to be good and clean out the grinder thoroughly by grinding up rice to help clean out your grinder experiments.
Store the candied orange zest and sugar in air-tight containers.