“Candied citrus peels are popular around the holidays, but they don’t need to be relegated to a single time of year! Make them anytime you know you’ll be using a lot of citrus fruits. I’m using lemons here, but feel free to sub in other types of citrus rinds, as shown in the photo. Plan ahead! You won’t be eating these the day you make them; they need to dry overnight. Added bonus: The candying syrup can be saved for stirring into tea or a hot toddy.” – Lindsay-Jean Hard
Vanilla Pod-Scented Candied Lemon Peels
Makes a generous 2 cups
4 or 5 lemons (It’s fine to use spent lemons; it just might be more challenging to separate the fruit from the peel.)
1 spent vanilla pod (already split in half, seeds used elsewhere)
2 cups (200 grammes) vanilla pod sugar or granulated sugar
1. Cut each lemon into quarters, and, using your fingers to get under the flesh, separate the fruit from the peel, working to keep as much pith attached to the peel as possible. It’s okay if a little fruit remains stuck to the peel at this point. (Use the flesh of the lemons elsewhere or juice them and save for another use.)
2. Place the peels in a medium-size saucepan, add cold water until the pan is nearly full, and bring to a full boil over medium-high or high heat. Boil the peels for 2 minutes, then drain the water and repeat this step two more times, with fresh cold water each time. This is essential for removing excess bitterness, and it also tenderises the peels.
3. Let the peels cool to the touch. If desired, cut the peels into strips. Either way, if any lingering fruit remains stuck to the peels, gently scrape it off. Set aside.
4. Combine the vanilla pod, 1.5 cups (150 grammes) of the sugar, and 1.5 cups (350 ml) water in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the peels and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the peels until they become translucent, then simmer a couple of minutes more. This will take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. Resist the urge to stir, just gently nudge down the peels on the top every 15 minutes or so. Adjust the heat as necessary throughout the process to keep them at a gentle simmer. If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should be around 230°F (110°C).
5. Set a cooling rack on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if you have it, for easier clean-up) to catch drips. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer a few candied peels at a time to the cooling rack, letting excess liquid drip back into the pot before transferring. Discard the vanilla pod.
6. Make sure the peels are spread out in one layer on the rack, touching as little as possible. Let them dry overnight, uncovered.
7. When the peels are dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup (50 grammes) of sugar to a small bowl and toss a handful of peels at a time in the sugar to coat them. (If you’re using the more precious vanilla sugar, you might want to start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed, so you’re sure not to waste any.)
8. Store in an airtight container, with some of the remaining sugar in the bottom, in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months. Alternatively, freeze in a single layer, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months
Reprinted with permission from Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals, Lindsay-Jean Hard, Workman Publishing, 2018.
About The Book:
In 85 innovative recipes, Lindsay-Jean Hard—who writes the “Cooking with Scraps” column for Food52—shows just how delicious and surprising the all-too-often-discarded parts of food can be, transforming what might be considered trash into culinary treasure.
Here’s how to put those seeds, stems, tops, rinds to good use for more delicious (and more frugal) cooking: Carrot greens—bright, fresh, and packed with flavour—make a zesty pesto. Water from canned beans behaves just like egg whites, perfect for vegan mayonnaise that even non-vegans will love. And serve broccoli stems olive-oil poached on lemony ricotta toast.