Monday, November 29, 2010

Candied Orange Peel

I've made all sorts of chutneys and chunky fruit sauces that I've refrigerated and used quickly, but I've never preserved jars and jars of summer fruit with the proper canning method. It seems like I should try it, and what could be better than popping open a jar of homemade berry preserves in the dead of winter? Or, how pretty would it be to have a big stack of gleaming, jewel-toned jars of translucent, homemade jelly on a shelf in the kitchen? I'm one step closer to experiencing those things since I received a review copy of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. Blue Chair Fruit is a Bay Area jam company specializing in intensely flavored preserves, and the owner, Rachel Saunders, reveals her techniques for the preserving process in this new book. The reader is walked through definitions of jams, jellies, and marmalades, and then the fruit itself is discussed from seasonality, flavor, and texture to acidity and pectin for balancing a preserve. Then, the preserving process is carefully described with information about necessary equipment, sterilization, and cooking stages for different types of preserves. The recipes section offers preserves for every month of the year starting with citrus marmalades in January and moving into strawberry and rhubarb season in March. There's an early summer peach jam with green almonds that sounds lovely, and summer boysenberry jam with lemon verbena. There are jams with berries, plums, figs, and tomatoes, and a fall quince marmalade that I really want to try. In the meantime, since I haven't yet collected all the equipment I'll need for canning, I started with the candied orange peel.

I grabbed some Texas navel oranges and set about starting the process. First, the oranges were halved and juiced. The halves were then covered with water in a stock pot, the water was brought to a boil, simmered for ten minutes, and then drained and that process was repeated twice more. The brief cooking, draining, and cooking again helps to remove bitterness from the orange rinds. Next, the orange halves were covered with water again, and this time, they were left to cook for about an hour until tender. They were drained and allowed to cool, and then the pith and fibers were scooped from each half. A thin layer of white pith remained in each orange half as they were sliced into thin strips. The strips were then cooked with sugar and water for about an hour until the pith sides began to look translucent. The strips were left to cool in the sugar syrup and were then transferred to a wire rack set on a baking sheet where they sat until dry a day and a half later. The last step was rolling the dried orange strips in sugar, and now they could sit for up to twelve months if they had a chance of lasting that long.

They're chewy, bitter, sweet, and full of orange flavor. I can't wait to chop some of them to stir into dough for panettone or place pieces of them on top of homemade dark chocolate bark with nuts and swirls of white chocolate. I'll probably think of some other cookies or cakes to use them in too causing them to be gone far too fast, but this was a great first step in extending seasonal flavors. Now, I need to finally try my hand at canning and filling my kitchen with pretty jars of preserves.



30 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to try this. Sounds and looks wonderful. Great idea adding it to chocolate bark too.

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  2. I've got to try this. You are right, this would be amazing in some pannatone.
    *kisses* HH

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  3. I'm too chicken to make anything other than refrigerator jam. Heat and combustion can be a scary thing. I have no excuse for not making candied orange peel yet, however. I've been meaning to make orangettes forever. Thanks for the reminder!

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  4. It sure looks great. It's also something I still have to try myself!

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  5. I love making candied peel. And I do a lot or preserves every season. Nice to see someone else embarking on this adventure.

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  6. These peels are so lovely. I don't think brown sugar will work? Hmmm...that is the only sugar I have in my pantry :( ...and I suck with all things sugar esp when I don't bake!

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  7. I LOVE candied orange peel. Honestly, they don't last long enough in my house for me to cook or bake with 'em because I eat them as is by the handful. ;)

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  8. I haven't made candied orange peel but I'd love to give this a go, it'd make a lovely addition to all the great holiday food. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I have never made candied anything. But I have seen a couple recipes like this now and am definitely intrigued. You did a lovely job, as always!

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  10. I'm dying to make these! They look so addictive...

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  11. Lisa, how fun, you made candied orange peel...they look great...would love to use in as baking goods :-) Great pictures!

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  12. I love these candied orange peels and make them very often.

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  13. I do like these, especially dipped in chocolate! These would make such an elegant Christmas present!

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  14. these make a lovely garnish, and i don't mind nibbling on them either. and hey, bonus--nothing wasted!

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  15. These candied orange peels look great!

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  16. Wow - who couldn't put those to good use??? All of a sudden you will probably see all sorts of recipes using candied orange peel that you skipped right by before!

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  17. I'm so glad you posted this, Lisa! I love it but have never made it!

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  18. Lisa...beautiful candied orange zest - dip 'em in chocolate and you've got orangette's lol I tried to make these once, and ended up with sugary goo plus orange zest oils, all over the place. Will try again, although they won't look like yours LOL

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  19. These orange peels do a tremendous job to jazz up holiday breads and sauces. I just got done making candied ginger, and I am looking forward to trying candied oranges, as soon as I can get my hands on some good quality navel varieties.

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  20. What a lovely treat! I have always wanted to make these for my Mom who loves them. I'm inspired now to make them for her stocking!

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  21. this was new to me. . I never thought of an orange skin that can still be useful. wow what an idea thanks:0

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  22. I'm going to a potluck dinner on Tuesday and I wanted to bring something unique but I didn't have the slightest idea of what I could make. This looks perfect, thanks for the tip!

    check out my blog: austineatcetera.wordpress.com

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  23. WOW! my grandma used to make these and then use them in fruit cake during Christmas. I have never done this myself, but love to take little bites of them.

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  24. I use 3 oranges daily to make juice. How do i preserve the peel for later use.
    Maris

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  25. MLM: I think freezing orange peels could change the texture, so I wouldn't recommend saving them that way. But, three orange peels from one day of juicing would make a lot of candied pieces. Or, you could save three from one day in the refrigerator, and then add another one or two the next day and candy them right away.

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  26. thanks for sharing.

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