There’s something rather magical about the bitter taste of candied orange peel, but I’ve never dared to make it before today. But I had four Seville oranges to use up, so I scoured the internet, confused myself with the wide range of recipe suggestions and decided to give things a whirl.
It’s actually quite easy.
You peel the oranges, cut the peel into thin slices and simmer it 3-4 times in fresh batches of water to remove some of the bitterness. Then simmer again, in a simple syrup made up of equal parts of water and sugar until the syrup has almost boiled away. One recipe suggested you weigh the boiled up peels, and use that as your base to measure the syrup, and that’s roughly what I did. I had 400 grams of peel, so I used 400ml of water and 400 grams of sugar for a simmer that took the best part of an hour. One recipe said “Do not stir” in big bold letters, because it might encourage the development of extra large sugar crystals, while a second said “stir often, or it will burn.” I stirred.
Spread the peels out on a drying rack (or any sort of wire rack, in my case) and wait a day for them to dry out a little. I used tongs and a fork. It worked, but it’s fiddly. The peel is hot and fragile, and I kept having to move the bits around to find enough space on the rack.
Later that day, or the next day if you prefer, roll your peels in sugar, to get rid of some of the lingering stickiness, and store in wax paper, in a cool dry place.
Leftovers: I had a spoonful of the remaining sauce in Greek yogurt for a not very successful orange yogurt (too bitter), and am saving the remaining quarter cup for a marmalade cake in a few weeks time.
And, mindful of the fact that I try not to use bought pectin, even for jams that really need it, I saved the orange pits in ice cube trays (adding water and very bitter Seville orange juice), and will try adding in muslim pouches to my next batch of jam. That’s a crazy experiment I’ve not seen done before.
But after almost running out of jam both last year and the year before, the cold room still has many months supply of jam, but a fast-disappearing amount of canned tomatoes.
One year I’ll get the balance right.