Candied Citrus Peel

When it’s citrus season here in Northern California our grapefruit, lemon, and orange trees are heavy with fruit. Taking inspiration from Il Forno’s wonderful blog entry on candied orange peel I decided to try my hand with some grapefruit peel. I followed a slightly different recipe than Il Forno, having dug one up from An Olde Concord Christmas. That recipe calls for the rinds to be soaked overnight in salt water. I’m not sure the purpose of this step, nor did I want to wait, so I skipped it. If anyone has a suggestion as to why soaking the rind overnight in salt water would benefit the process, please let me know!

Candied Citrus Peel Recipe

Ingredients

  • Orange rind or grapefruit rind
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water

Method

Grapefruit skins are much thicker than other citrus skins. Cooking them a while in boiling water helps loosen up the white pithy part so it is easier to scrape off.

1 Scrub the outside rinds thoroughly to remove any dirt. Put rind in cold water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat this process two more times. Drain, rinse with cold water, and scrape away the pithy white part of the peel. Slice into strips.

2 For each cup of rind, prepare a sugar syrup of 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. Put rind in syrup and cook slowly until syrup is completely absorbed - several hours. Stir occassionally and watch carefully near the end of the process.

3 Cool the peel and coat the strips with granulated sugar. Dry overnight on a rack. The sugared peel, when dry, may be dipped into melted semisweet chocolate.

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Candied Oranges from 18th Century Cuisine

21 Comments

  1. Alberto

    The salt water step is new to me too. At first I thought it was to remove the bitterness but that’s probably taken care of through the blanching steps. I must admit I have no clue. The peels look great!

  2. elise

    Hi Alberto,
    Maybe the next time I try making this I’ll try the overnight salt water method. Who knows? Maybe it does make it less bitter. Thank you for your original post. Your orange peels looked so yummy I couldn’t resist trying to make some candied peel myself.

  3. annie

    Hi,
    I remember my Mother making these, and the aroma in the house was delicious. I am on the South Beach Diet and would like to make them again as a little treat, but need to know the calorie and Carb count of RIND. If really low I’s like to try using SPLENDA insted of sugar.
    Mom would simply boil the rinds, scrap the pulp when cool enough to handle, roll til nearly caked in granulated sugar and dip the ends in bittersweet chocolate. We loved them.
    Appreciate any information you can find on carbs and calories.
    Thanks so much, Annie
    :)

  4. elise

    Sorry Annie – Don’t know how to help you; I don’t do carb or calorie counting. This recipe really is a candy recipe, almost pure sugar. It wouldn’t be on my low carb diet, that’s for sure!

  5. Maux

    nutritiondata.com shows 3 cal/tbs for lemon peel and 6 for orange. As far as using Splenda, I’m learning from experience (and their website) that there are things it cannot do. I think this is one of them. Maybe you could try 25% Splenda, but I suspect that this is a job for portion control.

  6. Louisa

    I was thinking of making candied orange and lemon peel. In the interest of time, I’m considering cooking the two peels together. Or would that mess with the flavors of both?

  7. Bill Humble

    Scraping the white out of the peel – what an horrid waste of time. It is all veggie, and after sugaring, and chocolate wrapping, it all goes down with a smile.
    Cut peel off fruit, I do four segments, juliene in3/8 width strips. cover with water, bring to boil, three times. This is to eliminate the bitter of the citrus oil. After pouring water off the third time, cover with sugar, I use 1 1/2 cup granulated per grapefruit. Bring to boil slowly, maintain boil until begins to sugar serious on side of pot. let cool a minute or two on pot lifter pad, lift out of pan, I use chop sticks, put on rack to harden, sugar out. Wrap in DARK chocolate, I use Wilbur coating with 20% added baking chocolate, gives character. Hide from bride, enjoy.

  8. Clare P Hughes (Malta GC - Europe)

    The reason for soaking in salt for the first 3 days, as I understand; is to preserve the skin and to soften it so that the last stage of cooking in the sugar syrupy becomes fast.
    One needs 100 grms of salt for every liter of water.
    1 liter = just under 2 pints (450 ml = 1 pint)
    100 grms = just under 4 ounces.
    One is suppose to change this salted water on a daily bases; to be repeated for 3 days.
    Wish me luck as I attempt my first batch.
    Clare P H

  9. Cara

    Hello. This is my first comment, but I’d like to say I’ve been a big fan of your site for several months. I just found this recipe here and wanted to comment about the salt water, especially since the last comment kinda lost me with the 3 days bit.

    I’ve never heard of brining anything but meat before, or for doing it anywhere near 3 days, but I do it all the time to meats – soak overnight in a cooler – or a big bowl in the fridge – full of cold salt water (& ice if using a cooler). In a nutshell, it allows the tissue to retain it’s moisture during cooking. (The science can be found here for the curious; all I need to know is it makes my turkeys, hams & roasts extremely juicy and tender. We’ve even brined ribs before popping them in the smoker… delicious.)

    Anyways, I haven’t made my own candied orange peel yet, but I encountered some in the past that was like shoe leather, it was so tough & rubbery. So when I looked up your recipe, and saw the salt water bit, I thought… maybe the reasoning could be along the same lines as brining meat, so the peel would be very tender when it was done?

    No idea if this is THE reason, but it’s just a thought I wanted to share. I have a recipe for a pound cake that calls for this candied peel as part of the topping, and I will be trying your recipe for it. :) Thanks for keeping up such a great site, and sorry for the long post!

  10. Elise

    Hi Cara, interesting theory. Brining does make whatever is brined retain more moisture. I did get the sense that in this case the reason for the salt water was to remove bitterness. Though, if you are removing the pith, you shouldn’t have bitterness. Perhaps if you brine, you don’t have to remove as much of the pith?

  11. barb

    I have been absolutely addicted to making candied citrus peel this winter. I use organic fruit and after initial success with orange and grapefruit my mind went to mandarins, tangerines, and don’t forget kumquats! A fun discovery; I tried rolling the finished grapefruit in a sugar/salt mix. For anyone who likes a little salt on their grapefruit, this is WONDERFUL. I use the orsa salt, which is quite fine and actually good for you. Nevermind about the sugar…

    I am interested in trying the step of soaking in salt water, my grapefruit did tend to be on the tough side so maybe that would help.

  12. Melanie

    Do you have any suggestions for how to store the candied peel (assuming you don’t eat it all at the first sitting!)?

  13. chase

    I use canning jars to store the peel, looks so pretty through the glass. Not sure how long they store, because I can’t get anyone to stop eating them. I hid a jar and nibbled on it for a few months with no ill effect on the candy.

  14. LJ Fortune

    In a recipe I found it says that the salt water soak is to remove a lot of the bitterness. I tried making this treat several years ago – but didn’t know about the soak. There was a LOT of bitterness left – particularly in the grapefruit.

    Love your site and the recipes are grand!

    Thank you!

  15. Hawaii mom

    My husband and I love making candied citrus peels. We usually do the brine, but this time used lemon peels that had been soaked to make lemoncello! They came out super tender and since they had soaked for a month in vodka, the boiling of the simple syrup took a great deal less time! Interesting to me was that there really was no vodka aftertaste! We always make the candied peels dipped in dark chocolate for christmas and are adding the cello this year!

  16. Isabella Riehl

    The reason for brining the fruit is threefold;
    One, it breaks up the waxes in the exterior, giving the entire candy a more consistant texture and flavor.
    Two, it aids in the drying stage, allowing the candied peel to reach a more gummie-like consistancy.
    Three, it does draw out the bitterness, and, if done right, will allow you to use the entire pith in a candying, making for a more gummie-candy food.
    This is also doable with most alcohols excluding wine and beer, which give it an odd flavor, and absinthe.

    Thanks for the info! ~Elise

  17. kamal

    I am thinking of making these to gift them to my children’s teachers for christmas. I am feeling anxious as to how they will turn out. As anyone tried to candy pomelo?

  18. joy

    is there already candy made from orange rinds? I’ve been trying make some research if there is already candy from ornage RINDS but it seems everything that comes out on the net are recipes of orange peelings. So, is there candy made from orange rinds? thank you :)

  19. Helen

    Hi All

    This recipe sounds great. As far as i’m aware though, soaking in salt water ( although it doesnt sound like it) is usually to suck the liquid out of an item, for example when you salt tomatoes before making chutney, it removes the liquid and just leaves the pulp, then you rinse again and drain and its ready to go. Prehaps the pre rinse does the same?! Or maybe it just cleans and sterilises it all . Either way, i think i’d skip it too lol. Thanks again

  20. greentea

    These look delicious. I love citrus peels, especially yuzu peels from Japan. I will try this recipe soon, How long do these last for? should they be eaten immediately?

    I think they’ll probably last a few weeks. Your main culprit is mold. Mold loves citrus. ~Elise

  21. bernadette callister

    I was given to understand when researching canning procedures that salting intensives the flavor. I do salt things before canning and will probably salt these too. There seems to be a great deal of variation in the “how long will it keep and how to keep it area”. What would be the concerns about long term storage, say months?

    I don’t know about months. I found that what remained of my batch (after eating most of it) got moldy after a couple months. So, watch for mold. That’s the only thing you really have to look out for. The sugar does a good enough job preserving the peels. ~Elise

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