It is the season when I make my candied orange peels to last for the entire year. I use them on top of cannoli, chopped in various desserts, and in my ricotta gelato; we even coat the ends with dark chocolate to eat as candy.
To me it is worth putting in a couple of hours for the final product because you just can’t buy anything like it. You’re not actually doing a lot of work: most of the time is spent just letting them sit around to dry.
This used to be the most requested recipe from my students before I included it on page 308 in my cookbook, My Calabria, but you can follow the various steps here with pictures below and a video, shot and edited by my sixteen-year-old son Adrian. The recipe in the book is for five oranges but five oranges certainly won’t last me a year!
If you don’t have your own orange trees you will need to buy organic oranges that have not been sprayed or coated with any wax.
I don’t remove the pith at this point. I remove it later after cooking the peels as it is easier and I can leave some behind so that I end up with a thicker peel.
Place the peels in a pot and cover with cold water.
Bring the pot to a boil and boil them for two minutes. Drain and refill the pot again with cold water and boil again. This removes any trace of bitterness.
After the third blanching, with the peels drained and cooled, remove the white pith with a pairing knife, leaving about 1/8 inch.
After you are done with all the strips, return them to the pot and repeat the 2 minute boiling two more times, for a total of five times.
Make a simple syrup with 4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer the syrup for about 15 minutes to thicken. Add the drained peels and cook until the peels look glassy and translucent, about an hour.
Remove from the heat and let them cool in the syrup overnight. The next morning the peels will plump in the syrup and the syrup will be very thick.
Transfer each peel on a wire rack, removing the excess syrup with your fingers. The peels should not be dripping.
Let them dry for 24 hours or longer depending on the weather. Once they are dried and no longer tacky, coat them with sugar. Return the peels to the rack and let them dry overnight or further until dry.
Store them in a plastic container in your freezer; they keep well indefinitely.
Here is the video showing you each step.