I used to get so grossed out at the mere thought of accidentally eating orange peel while eating an orange. Then I had candied orange peels and appreciated their candy form and created this recipe. Candied orange peels are a very versatile delicacy. Use them in Panettone, Stollen, Hot Cross Buns, pair them with almonds and cover them with chocolate or mince them and use them for topping on ice cream. Feel free to use other citrus peels in place, or in addition to orange such as lemon or lime. Just be sure to use organic peels because non-organic ones often have high concentrations of pesticide residues.
3 oranges (organic recommended)
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
Cut the oranges in half and juice them. Scrape out the pulp but leave the white pith. A Zeroll ice cream scoop works well because it's easy to grip and has a semi-sharp tip. It's easiest to scrape lengthwise from one side to the other which allows all the pulp to peel off of the peel in one large chunk. Now cut the very ends of the orange es off to remove the rough parts of the peel. Using a knife, cut the peel into long slices about ¼ inch thick that go the vertical length of the orange.
Now we're going to boil the orange peel slices several times to reduce their bitterness so their orange flavor comes through. Place the orange peels in a medium sauce pan and fill it with water so the peels are covered. On high heat, bring the orange peels to a boil then drain the water off. Do this a total of four times. An easy way to drain the orange peels is to dump them into a colander then use a pair of tongs to place the orange peels back into the saucepan. Set the peels aside.
Place the 3 cups sugar and 1 cup water into the sauce pan without the orange peels and bring the mixture up to 230F (110C) on medium heat while stirring occasionally. A candy thermometer is recommended so you can accurately get to this temperature, which is technically the soft thread stage.
Carefully add the orange peels and bring them to a simmer until they're translucent, maintaining a temperature between 230-234F (110-112C) along the way. It may take awhile to get the mixture back up to this range after you add the orange peels but that's OK. Don't stir the mixture or you risk introducing particles than may cause crystallization. Simmer until the peels are translucent. This should take about 45 minutes but may take longer at higher altitudes. As more time passes the water will boil off, making the mixture thicker and allowing you to turn the heat down. Drain the orange peels in a colander and save the orange syrup for pancakes.
Place a metal cake rack over a baking sheet and place the orange peels over it so they're evenly spaced. Here you have the option of coating the orange peels in granulated sugar or just leaving them the way they are. Allow them to dry for 5 hours to 2 days, depending on humidity. Candied Orange Peel will keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to one month.