Candied citrus peel is one of my favorite, extravagant treats. It's sweet, chewy and full of citrusy goodness. In this recipe the citrus peel is first boiled in purified water. This makes it soft and ready to soak in the sweet honey syrup. After boiling, the peel is then simmered in a water/honey mixture, till the syrup becomes a wonderful gooey mess. Then the peels are coated in powdered dried coconut instead of the traditional sugar.
Today I used 'Cutie' oranges. These are always plentiful during the holidays. You could however, use other citrus fruit like lemons and grapefruits as well. When possible use organic fruit. This is especially important since you will be eating the peel. Oranges and grapefruits with thicker skins may need to boil longer in the first step, than their thinner skinned cousins.
Slice the fruit into quarters (or smaller if needed). Cut out the flesh and save for another recipe, like fruit salad or your morning smoothie. Now, it is important to remove as much of the 'pith' (the white part) as possible. It tends to be bitter. Do this by carefully shaving it from the peel with a sharp knife. Practice on a few first. You'll get the hang of it eventually. Don't worry it doesn't have to be perfect.
After shaving off the pith, cut the peels into thin strips. Now, comes the fun part... and the part where your house smells really yummy!
Honey Candied Citrus Peel
7-8 small thin skinned oranges/lemons (or 4 large oranges/grapefruits)
2 cups water for boiling
2 cups water for syrup
1 1/2 cups honey/agave
2 cups fine dried coconut
First, prepare the coconut by regrinding in a blender till it is more 'powdery'. Blend it as fine as you can before it starts to release it's water. Set aside in a large bowl.
In a pot or very large pan, bring the first 2 cups of water to the boil. Add the prepared citrus peel (as seen above) to the water than reduce to a simmer. Simmer the peel for about 30 minuets or till the peel becomes a bit soft.
Remove from heat, then drain.
Now, add your other 2 cups of water to the pan/pot along with the honey/agave. Stir till fully combined, then bring to the boil. Add the citrus peel to the pot/pan and reduce to a simmer.
Continue to simmer the peels for about 1 hour. The syrup should get quite thick. When the syrup is almost gone, your candied peel is done. (Keep an eye on the simmer. If it gets too hot, the honey will start to get VERY dark. It could burn easily at this point.)
Remove from heat, then carefully remove the peel from the syrup. Place the peels in the bowl of powdery coconut. Rub them around till they are coated and do not stick together anymore. This can be a little messy at first.
Let the coated peel 'set' on parchment paper for about an hour, to dry and firm up. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Eat candied citrus as a nice sweet snack, added to muffins and granolas, or use as a garnish for desserts and parfaits.