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Home-made candied peel to give or to keep

November 10, 2011

Candied peelMy 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.

Christmas cake made with homemade candied peelI 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.

Candied peel

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?

Candied peel

Candied Peel

Easy to make, much better than shop-bought and great to give as homemade gifts.


2 oranges (all fruit unwaxed, organic if possible)
2 lemons
1 grapefruit
250g granulated sugar
475ml water
a vanilla pod (optional)
caster sugar for dusting


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


candied peel and christmas card

Do you like giving or receiving home-made gifts?

  1. November 10, 2011 11:32 am

    Oh I made mincemeat on the weekend for my X-mas baking and one of the things that I made also was the candied peel. Here in Germany the tree does not come up till the 24th afternoon. Then it is decorated with the whole family. As Christmas eve is the big day here the whole day is spent with decorations, cooking and celebrating!

    • November 10, 2011 11:39 am

      My Polish heritage means that Christmas Eve is very special too. I wish I could fight off the decorations until the 24th but will have to bow to pressure! Thanks for sharing how you spend Christmas Eve – I think decorating the tree as a family is really special. I have to have Handel’s Messiah playing in the background – another area where the teens are now rebelling!

  2. November 10, 2011 11:42 am

    I think this would make a fantastic gift! Homemade gifts (which is what I usually always give – Christmas and birthdays) are always so much nicer and more appreciated.
    🙂 Mandy

    • November 25, 2011 1:30 pm

      I should get myself more organised – I agree wholeheartedly Mandy.

  3. November 10, 2011 12:31 pm

    This is lovely, Sally, because I’ve just tracked down the all-time perfect chocolate to dip candied orange rind into.. 🙂 Thank you!

    • November 25, 2011 1:29 pm

      You are the chocolate queen.

  4. November 10, 2011 12:47 pm

    Sally, I have given in…Xmas decorations are going up on the 1st of December! and i already received a look because my son thinks that is way too late!

    • November 25, 2011 1:28 pm

      I’m not cracking Marta!

  5. November 10, 2011 12:57 pm

    A great gift idea!



  6. November 10, 2011 1:59 pm

    Oh so addictive, I could totally have entire citrusy bags of these throughout the year, why wait for Christmas!

  7. November 10, 2011 2:05 pm

    I absolutely adore home-made birthday and Christmas presents.My daughter is planning to make all her presents this year – this sounds like the perfect suggestion, Sally.

  8. November 10, 2011 3:31 pm

    I love giving and receiving home-made gifts – last year I made Christmas rusks for everyone. These could be on my list for this year! Thanks!

    • November 25, 2011 1:27 pm

      Love to see that recipe Irini. I learned about rusks when I visited South Africa – in the UK it’s something that babies chew on!

  9. November 10, 2011 4:09 pm

    Beautiful – your teens do come up with some wonderful ideas!! A wonderful ‘Let’s make Christmas’ entry – just a shame you can’t make Fortnums!

  10. November 10, 2011 7:09 pm

    I did not do the last stage which explains why my peel has not hardened! Yours look lovely 🙂

    • November 25, 2011 1:26 pm

      Yes – I packed it away first time and it was still soft – it only takes a little time to dry out though.

  11. November 10, 2011 8:06 pm

    Love this Sally!!! Though I have to question myself why have I not ever used grapefruit peel as I love grapefruit!!!

    Just wrapping up and delivering my gingerbreaed house this weekend to the Festival then I set the tree up.

    We got our first snowfall last night, should melt off but there is freezing rain coming. I think I perfer the snow.

    I need to pick up some grapefruit this weekend!

    Thanks Sally!

    • November 25, 2011 1:25 pm

      The grapefruit didn’t look as pretty as the lemon and orange but I loved the taste. Looking forward to pics of your gingerbread house.

  12. November 10, 2011 8:32 pm

    Every time I decide to make candied peel I get so excited that I end up candying peel for the whole neighbourhood. Unfortunately, here people are not used to eat candied peel and when I gift it to somebody, firstly I have to explain that it’s an edible gift.

  13. Anna permalink
    November 10, 2011 9:13 pm

    What a wonderfully simple recipe!

  14. November 11, 2011 1:24 am

    I was searching online for a recipe just the other day- I too felt it would be lots more fun to make my own this year. Thanks Sally!

  15. November 11, 2011 7:31 am

    It’s a wonderful gift idea 🙂

  16. November 12, 2011 3:01 am

    i adore both receiving and giving (: the candied peel sounds liek a great gift idea! they look gorgeous. this is my first time at your blog and i’m rather enjoying it! great photos and recipes (:

  17. November 12, 2011 11:06 pm

    Had no idea you could make them at home! Nice stuff 🙂

  18. November 13, 2011 4:26 am

    Yes…tis the season. I just came back from the mall and it’s already decorated with Santa Claus Villages for the children and we’re still weeks from Thanksgiving over here!

    Lovely little sweets.

  19. November 13, 2011 10:24 am

    Well, I have been MISSING time perusing My Custard Pie, and to my delight, you have two of my favorite things right off the bat — candied citrus and lemon curd! Lucky me! I have been meaning to make candied citrus peel for, well, years now, and never get around to it. I had no idea it was so simple, and so now I am absolutely going to make this happen. How long do you think they would store (don’t want to give out stale citrus peel as gifts, so I should time my productivity on this)? Also, in the method, you say to cut the pith into strips… did you mean the peel? Just making sure I’m not missing a step here. And finally- if you think December 6th is early for Christmas decorations, then you do not want to venture near our neighborhood next week. People around here go nuts, and decorations will be all over the houses (complete with really tacky inflatable Santas, etc) by Thanksgiving or earlier. I was just driving home tonight and beginning to dread this. And I LOVE the Christmas season, but geez.

    • November 25, 2011 1:22 pm

      That’s a good question about storage – and as I’ve used all mine up I’m not sure. If you store them in an airtight container I would think a couple of months. The sugar seems to keep them moist.

  20. November 13, 2011 12:16 pm

    It looks so yummy.

  21. November 13, 2011 4:13 pm

    My FiL was german so we inherited the German traditions so we only put our Christmas tree up on the 24th of December! I love the idea of making your own candied peel! You blog is very pretty!

  22. November 13, 2011 11:32 pm

    I don’t celebrate Christmas but love baking for others. I always have tiny aluminum tins of sweet quick breads as well as cookies. I used to make chocolate truffles as well. Maybe this year will be macarons. But I love candied citrus peel (best dipped in chocolate) and this has me inspired!

    • November 25, 2011 1:19 pm

      Oh good – glad to provide inspiration. I think my daughters would much rather I make chocolate truffles too.

  23. November 14, 2011 4:31 pm

    It is fast approaching!! Gosh can anyone believe the year is almost already over!!!? It is exciting though, we get to put the tree up soon, and make Christmas cookies and decorate them :))
    Orange peel is great, I make it every Christmas for my very drunken Christmas Fruit Cake hehehe 🙂 it goes very well with the christmas spices and the Brandy so yes, you have certainly put me in the mood early on!! love it 🙂

    • November 25, 2011 1:16 pm

      Ha ha – your delight in baking oozes out of this comment. I bet your cake is divine.

  24. November 15, 2011 4:27 am

    Such a great idea! I love giving and receiving home made gifts. It’s so much more personal and memorable then.

  25. November 15, 2011 8:47 pm

    Fabulous gifts for the Holidays…. I love your photos of the citrus peels.Awesome!!

  26. November 16, 2011 4:50 pm

    So much finer than the artificially colored and chemically preserved bits I find in the marketplace. I’d be thrilled to receive this as a gift. Love the shot of the batter in the springform pan.

    • November 25, 2011 1:14 pm

      It’s such a revelation – I’m never going back to store-bought. Thanks for nice comment about the pic.

  27. Jane permalink
    November 22, 2011 11:50 am

    HAving never handmade sweets before, I feel inspired and might just give it a go. This took me back to a fond holiday memory of a delightful little artisan confiserie Florian’s at Pont du Loup near Nice.If ever you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vicinity, it’s a Wonka-like paradise for grownup kids. D I V I N E. Your readers who also read French may enjoy the recipes ontheir website:

    • November 25, 2011 1:09 pm

      What a treasure trove of a site – no wonder you have happy memories. Wish my French was better (although there is always Google Translate!)

  28. November 24, 2011 1:26 am

    homemade candied peel rocks…..and you’ve made your Christmas cake – what genius!!!! The cake looks wonderful and I bet the peel would rock, chopped up in some pancakes.

    I love foodie gifts.

    And happy Thanksgiving (I know, no strong American links but…..) LOL

    • November 25, 2011 1:07 pm

      Actually no American links at all – but really interested in the ‘giving thanks’ part of the celebration. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  29. November 27, 2011 10:45 pm

    Sally this looks like a real treat. I have been thinking about “making” christmas presents this year. This and the lemon curd look perfect for that. I’m going to try it…thanks for the inspiration

  30. November 29, 2011 11:26 pm

    This does look really pretty…and tasty too. Perhaps this is the cure to my dislike of candied peel…

  31. Sylvia Feeney permalink
    October 5, 2012 3:00 pm

    Is this peel ok to put in Christmas cake and puddings? I’m going to make it this year ‘cos I can’t seem to buy any whole peel int he UK! Only awful chopped rubbish in the supermarkets!

    • October 5, 2012 3:12 pm

      Most definitely – that’s why I made it actually. The bought peel is so horrible. This is lovely in cake and puddings. I have made a load this year to see me through the festive season (good presents too).

  32. December 17, 2012 12:36 am

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or
    did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

    • December 17, 2012 6:59 am

      I use a theme and had the header designed.


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