Candied Orange Peel

by Sandra Merville Hart

Like everyone else the past two years, Covid has affected holiday plans—either by cancelling or postponing them. As I write, my son-in-law has Covid and a late Christmas family gathering will be delayed again.

I often try to bring some new holiday recipe to Christmas gatherings. Last year I made a yule log—delicious! This year I had planned to try Candied Orange peel. I decided to make it even though our celebration is delayed.  

I looked at a few different recipes and they were all very similar.

Candied Orange Peel

2 large oranges, cut and peeled into 8 wedges

4 cups sugar, divided

3 cups water

8 oz chocolate, melted (optional—and for later, will use this after the peels dry)

Cut peel and pith (the white part) from orange wedges. Because oranges are a juicy fruit, this part can be messy so cut the oranges over a plate or rimmed dish. (I served the leftover fruit as a packed-with-Vitamin-C snack for the children in my home. 😊)

Next, slice the peel wedges into 3 strips each. Boil a large pot of water and then add strips. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Peels will be soft. Drain in a colander. Rinse and then drain again.

Place 3 cups of sugar in 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar and then leave it alone, bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange and allow the syrup to return to a boil and then reduce heat so that the mixture gently simmers for about 45 minutes, until peel is very soft. Remove the peel with a slotted spoon.

Hint: Save the orange syrup for another recipe or serve it on pancakes for a different flavor.

Place a cup of sugar in a mixing bowl and coat the peel. You may need another 1/3 cup of sugar to coat all the slices—at least I did, with the help of a preschooler and a kindergartner. 😊

Set aside the peel to dry on a sheet of parchment paper. I set mine on a lined baking sheet and it took 2 days for them to dry.

Optional—not optional for the chocolate lover in me!—melt 8 ounces of chocolate and dip the slices halfway into the melted chocolate. Delicious! I love the combination of orange paired with chocolate.

Store the dried peel in an airtight container. It should keep up to two months.

My family ate these without chocolate too and asked for more. It’s a different yet delicious orange treat, packed with vitamin C in this cold and flu season—a win-win!

I will look for ways to use this orange peel in recipes. I’ve already steeped a slice in my tea for a hint of orange—and added vitamin C!


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