Candied Citrus Peels and Other Interesting Uses for Your Leftover Peels

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Since candied orange peels are basically the discovery that inspired this blog, I figured I should post the recipe. But let me first outline my thought process.

Leave it to me to feel guilty about throwing away perfectly fragrant orange peels. I know they’re the peel, but come on! They smell sooo good; how could there be nothing to salvage them for? After a bit of research, I have compiled this list of adequate alternatives to throwing away perfectly good citrus rinds:

1. Potpourri. It’s easy as cutting them up and letting them dry.

2. Home-brewed air-freshener. Just pop your peels into a pot of boiling water and let the house be enveloped in deliciousness.

3. Compost. This is somewhat of a given. Compost can be made out of anything organic really, but citrus rinds apparently make great fertilizer.

4. Orange zest. This is a pretty common one, but let me just remind you how wonderful fresh orange or lemon rinds are when added to cookies, pasta, or salads.

5. Fire starter. The oils in the rind are extremely flammable. Bet they make the fire smell delish, too.

6. Flavored olive oil. Add some zest to your bottle of olive oil and you’re aboutas fancy as they get – as far as cooking goes, at least.

7. Brown sugar preservative. Add some peel to your brown sugar and you won’t have such a problem with rock hard sugar next time you try to bake cookies.

8. Deodorize garbage cans. Add to your trash. Kick that nasty smell in the butt.

9. Candied peels. Recipe to follow.

IMG_2898INGREDIENTS:

6-10 peels of oranges, grapefruits, or lemons, cut into 1/4 inch strips

2 cups white sugar

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar for decoration

dark chocolate (optional)

METHOD:

1. Harvest citrus peels by slicing the fruit into quarters and then filleting as close to the rind as you can get. Try not to leave too much of the white pith, as this will make the candied peels bitter. Slice the peels into strips, relatively thin.

2. Place the peels in a pot of boiling water and boil for twenty minutes, covered. Drain and set aside.

3. In medium saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture reaches 230 degrees F on candy thermometer. Stir in peel, reduce heat, and simmer until the peels are translucent (15-20 minutes).

4. Roll the pieces into sugar until covered, and set aside on parchment paper to cool and dry out completely. When dried (normally takes about 4 hours, depending on humidity), dip in melted dark chocolate to make an extra special treat.

IMG_2899With the leftover sugar mixture, I added a little water to create an orange-infused syrup. This can be used as a substitute for sugar in basically any recipe it’d taste good in – sugar cookies, oatmeal, ginger snaps, you name it.

As for the candied peels themselves, you don’t have to eat them plain. Chop them up and add them into your homemade granola. Eat them in salads. Put them in your cereal. The possibilities are endless. This is why I hate throwing things away.

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