Wash and peel fruit.
Place peels in COLD water and bring to a boil, time at 2 minute intervals and do this 3 times, for a total of 3 blanchings.
I used oranges and lemons and kept them separate.
After the third blanching, drain well...
|Cut off the pith|
and cut the pith off to about 1/4 inch (its ok to leave a little more on)
|Fourth and 5th blanchings|
Pour in more cold water and blanch 2 more times @ 2 minute intervals. Doing this removes the bitterness from the peels.
Bring to a boil 4 cups sugar, 2 cups distilled water and 2 tbsp Lemon Juice.
I doubled this because I had two sets of peels to do.
|Clear with an Amber color|
It looks like this until it boils and becomes:
All this looks like a great deal of work, in reality just cutting the peels off the fruit took the most time so far.
|All four burners goin' at once...|
Pour the syrup over the prepared peels
Simmer for an hour on low heat, uncovered.
Cover and let sit overnight in the syrup.
The peels have taken on a transparency.
|Let drain for a few minutes, saving the syrup|
Now we come to the 'gooey' part!
Take each peel and wipe off the syrup with your fingers, then dredge them in sugar...
and set them on a rack. The peels are easier to handle after coating.
And into the oven they go! @ 200 F for about 4 hours to dry ~*~ checking frequently so they don't burn.
I placed the racks as high above the element as I could to ensure no burning.
After 6 hours drying in oven they were still pliable until removed, when they became hard and chewy.
Doing this the first time taught me a few things that I'd do differently the second time.
- I'd limit the oven time to 4 hours instead of six because that would be all they need ~ my thinking here is that they will be less hard and more chewy with less drying time.
- Of course another option would be to leave them out to dry naturally but that could take 24 hours to complete, longer if the weather is damp and you'd have to have a fairly warm house.
- I'd leave a tiny bit more pith on the peels than the 1/4 inch ~ this affects the end result.
Note that they are not a treat that you can sit and eat ten at a time, so they will last when stored in an airtight container.
HAPPY 2012 CHRISTMAS