Home-made candied peel to give or to keep
My teens are already begging me to cave in and agree a date to put up the Christmas tree. I am digging in my heels and refuse to discuss anything that even resembles a bauble until St Nicholas day on the 6th of December. It’s not too early to think about food however and I took advantage of the Eid break to spend some soothing hours in the kitchen baking my Christmas cake and making my pudding. After having returned the pack of candied peel to the supermarket shelf after reading the E numbers, I was going to omit it altogether. Then vegetarian teen suggested I make my own. Eureka.
I had some local grapefruit from the Ripe market and I gave the oranges and lemons a good scrub to get rid of any nasties. Unwaxed organic fruit is idea if you can get it.
The candied peel was really simple and satisfying to make. A great idea for gifts for Christmas too – you can dip the candied pieces in melted chocolate for a more sophisticated present if you like.
And the taste… I wonder why haven’t I made this before? Opening the packet unleashes powerful citrussy aromas and it’s hard to stop nibbling at these little candied pieces. I feel like one of the three wise men bearing a gift. This little stash of peel is going to add the warmth and spice of the East into many Christmas goodies over the next 6 weeks.
Spending an hour in the kitchen and some relaxing time making up the peels into pretty parcels sure beats trawling round the mall and who doesn’t love a home-made gift? Vanessa Kimbell of Prepped fame thinks so too and is gathering together lots of lovely ideas for her Let’s Make Christmas event.
2 oranges (all fruit unwaxed, organic if possible)
250g granulated sugar
a vanilla pod (optional)
caster sugar for dusting
Give the fruit a good scrub and dry well. Finely peel the oranges, lemons and grapefruit trying not to include any of the bitter white pith. Cut the pith into long strips.
Put the peel into a deep pan, fill with enough water just to cover the peel, then bring to the boil over a high heat. As soon as the water has boiled, remove from the heat and drain. Return to the peel to the pan and repeat this process two more times (so three boils in total).
Put the peel back in the pan and add the water (measured as above in the ingredients list), granulated sugar, the vanilla pod (if you like) and warm over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes until the peel is soft. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.
Drain off the syrup and toss the strips of peel in the caster sugar until coated. Dry on a wire rack until the piece are firm and the sugar crisp.
Do you like giving or receiving home-made gifts?