I had a backlog of kitchen projects to get through this weekend.
It was insane.
We had some duck legs lying about, so I got another duck, broke it down, rendered its fat, and made confit.
I made banana bread to use up the half a dozen blackening bananas and some very sour sour cream.
We had some quinces. I cooked it down to pulp and juice, and made membrillo and quince jelly with them.
A candied citrus peel recipe after the jump.
Candied Citrus Peel - a method
Candied citrus is wonderful. Times depend on the freshness and character of the citrus peels you are using; it’s best, if you’re unsure, to break the whole batch down and then test out some different cooking times first with a small portion. As a rule, thicker peels candy better - grapefruit and orange skins are great. pommelo are fun, but end up tasting more of sugar than of anything else. Lemon peels require great care to keep from turning leathery, limes are almost impossible.
This is a method for candied *peel*, not zest. You get a lot more yield from using the whole peel, pith and all, and it’s faster to do. With judicious blanching there should be no unpleasant bitterness.
Halve and juice your fruits. All hail the KitchenAid juicer attachment!
Scrape the peel halves clean of membrane and flesh with a melon baller or your fingers - the insides should pull away in a clean bundle. Save it and the seeds for marmalade if you like.
Cut the peels into strips of appropriate widths. With grapefruit I go about 1/4” thick, with orange 3/8”, with lime and lemon 1/8”. It’s easiest to halve each half again into a pointy almond shape, and then cut lengthwise into even strips, working around navels and pointy bits.
Now for blanching. Put your peels in a big pot, add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for some minutes; drain; rinse in cold water; and repeat two or three times. Taste and taste again after the second boil - you are trying to balance between underblanching (too bitter and hard) and overblanching (loss of citrus flavor). The sugar solution will not make bitterness go away or soften the peel further, so stop when your peels are nicely soft and have just a faint trace of bitterness underneath that will be pleasant when complemented by sweet.
With grapefruits, I generally boil for nine minutes three times, counting from when the water comes to a boil. With oranges, seven minutes three times. With lemons, ten minutes twice.
Now cook your peels further in a 1:1 solution of sugar and water to cover - bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Leave the pan uncovered so the water can evaporate. Add more sugar if the liquid level gets too low or the fruits seem to have absorbed it all but aren’t candy yet.
They are done when they are translucent all the way through, shiny, and stiffen into a gummy candy texture when placed on a saucer to cool slightly. Drain on racks for at least an hour or two, then toss with sugar in a mesh colander to coat.