Candied Orange Peel – An Example in Sustainability
When you give these beautiful Candied Orange Peels as gifts to family and friends, you are giving them a healthy, tasty, beautiful treat that will last throughout the holiday season (if they aren’t eaten before the season is over). As you use your oranges to make your favorite salads, Southern Ambrosia, or Orange Pound Cake, keep those peels to prepare these wonderful Candied Orange Peels!
Candied Orange Peels have reminded me of Christmas for as long as I can remember. The mere aroma of orange peels simmering on the stove creates warm happy emotions that I cannot describe. I am not sure if it takes me back to childhood or gives me pleasure knowing I am leaving the same traditions that I grew up with on to my own children.
One of the greatest treasures that I want my children to teach their children is to make the most of everything and waste nothing that God gives us in nature. I believe that one major example of sustainability is to use parts of vegetables, fruits, or harvested game that are not ordinarily used.
Most people utilize the flesh, or the inside juicy sections of the orange, but the orange rind and the peel have just as many uses. Orange peels have been used as mosquito repellant, a degreaser, deodorizer, ant repellant, and kindling, among other things.
You can find this and more recipes like it in my new handbook, Preserving 101: Canning, Drying, and Freezing.
During the Christmas season, I like to find a more elegant and utilitarian use for my orange peels. Candied Orange Peels are beautiful, festive, and are full of nutrients. The orange peel has more vitamin C than the actual fruit of the orange. Likewise, the fruit peel also has about three times as much the amount of Vitamin A, B-Complex, and minerals such as manganese, calcium, and zinc.
Candied Orange Peel
- 6 large oranges
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar plus more for coating (about 1/2 cup)
Using a sharp knife, cut the peel off the oranges, taking as much as possible to get ride of most of the pith. The pitch can be very bitter. Cut the peel into 1/4-inch strips.
In a large saucepan, combine the peels with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer. Continue to simmer peels, uncovered, for about 1 hour. There should only be about 1 inch of water remaining, and the peels should be soft and somewhat transparent. Drain the peels.
In another saucepan, bring 4 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the drained peels. Let stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.
Return the pan to low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the peels have absorbed most of the syrup. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
Remove the peels from the saucepan and lay them out individually on wax paper. Allow them to dry for about 12 hours. They will still be a little wet, but not soggy.
Place about 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and roll the orange peels in the sugar until they are fully coated. Arrange peels in a single layer on a piece of wax paper and let them dry. To hasten drying, arrange peels on a sheet pan and place in the oven on the lowest setting. Keep the door cracked and leave them to dry for a couple of hours.
Store in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container. You can dip these in melted chocolate for an extra tasty treat. Enjoy! Happy cooking!