One of my goals for the year was to make an effort to reduce household waste and get the most out of what we buy and eat. Like making homemade broth from the carcass of roasted chicken, for example. I make fresh squeezed orange juice just about every day (with the help of my cute juicer) so I often have an excess of orange peels. Orange peels are not great for compost so I use them to make homemade cleaning solution or feed them to the neighbor’s horse (she loves them!) but we go through a lot of oranges and I feel guilty throwing them in the trash. My friend gave me the idea to use the peels to make candied orange peels and I had to try it!
Candied Orange Peels
Because I use my oranges for juicing, I started with juiced halves of oranges. I saved up a batch of orange peels (and grapefruit) in the freezer until I had about a dozen. The first thing you want to do is remove any remnants of the fruit so that you’re left with the peel and pith.
Slice the peels.
Transfer to a saucepan, cover the peels with water and boil for about 10 minutes.
Drain and boil again with fresh water for another 5-10 minutes. Drain. Return the peels to the saucepan. At this point, you want to add sugar and simmer. Most traditional recipes for candied orange peels call for refined sugar. You can use coconut sugar, honey or a combination of the above like I did. You want just enough water to cover the peels. I used 3 cups water, just enough to cover my citrus peels and added 1 cup honey and 1/4 cup coconut sugar. Add a cinnamon stick, 1-star anise and a dash of vanilla. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
Saving the syrup, drain orange peels. Roll the peels in sugar and lay out on a pastry rack or parchment paper to dry.
I rolled some peels in coconut sugar and the rest in regular sugar.
Allow the peels to dry for several hours. I left mine out drying overnight.
You can eat the candy as is, dip it in chocolate, add to cake, muffins or salads, etc. The syrup can be used in cocktails or tea. It’s popular around the holidays but I will be doing this regularly, holiday season or not. You can use lime or lemon peels too.
If you’re interested in other ways to utilize orange peels, here are some ideas:
- Pest control in the garden
- Homemade cleaning solution (citrus is great for water spots and cleaning the sink)
- Herbal tea
- Citrus-infused olive oil
I’m sure there are many other uses, too. I hope I’ve encouraged you to make the most out of your used citrus!
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