How To Make Candied Orange Peel Easily

Lunar New Year is coming, and like every Asian family, we are preparing a lucky candy box for this occasion. Among hundreds of types of candies, I’m always into candied orange peel because they are not too sweet and are very affordable. With a bag of oranges bought from a random supermarket and some sugar, you can make use of the peels to create this delightful treat. Let me share how to make candied orange peel easily.

how to make candied orange peel

Why Candied Orange Peel?

Candied orange peel is a sweet confection made from orange peels that have been cooked in sugar syrup until they become tender and coated in a crystallized layer of sugar. This process preserves the orange peel and transforms it into a sweet and slightly chewy treat with a bright citrus flavor.

Not only being added in a lucky candy box for Lunar New Year in some Asian countries, but candied orange peel is also used as a sweet garnish in various desserts, including cakes, cookies, and pastries. It’s also a decorative element in baking and confectionery.

how to make candied orange peel

Is Candied Orange Peel good for our health? Although candied orange peel contains sugar, there are still some health benefits to be derived from it, thanks to the nutritional value of orange peel itself. Orange peel contains dietary fiber, antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, and some vitamin C, offering potential health benefits. It can aid digestion, support bowel regularity, and help control blood sugar levels due to its dietary fiber content. While some important components may be lost during the candying process, the fiber and essential oils are still present in each piece of candied orange peel.

Moreover, this is a very affordable treat. Usually, after enjoying the juicy flesh of an orange, we throw the peel away, regardless of the potential health benefits it offers and the fact that it’s edible. This is mainly because the orange essential oil in the peel makes it too bitter to eat. Candied orange peel can be the solution. After several steps of rinsing, squeezing, and cooking on the stove, these orange peels will become a delicious treat that everybody can enjoy.

Ingredients for Candied Orange Peel

To make this sweet treat, you need only orange peel, sugar, and a dash of vanilla extract if possible. Really simple, isn’t it? The quality of your treat depends on orange peels, and how you make it.

You can use the peel of almost all types of orange to make candied orange peel, as long as they are fresh and ripe. There are some tips to select the appropriate types of orange:

  • Appearance: Look for oranges that are firm, heavy for their size, and have smooth, brightly colored skin. Avoid oranges with blemishes, soft spots, or mold.
  • Avoid Overly Bitter Varieties: Some orange varieties have naturally bitter peels, which can be challenging to candy. Try to avoid excessively bitter oranges if possible.
  • Select Organic or Unwaxed Oranges: Organic oranges are a good choice if you can find them, as they are less likely to have pesticide residues. Alternatively, you can choose unwaxed oranges, as waxed oranges can make it more challenging for the sugar syrup to penetrate the peel during the candying process.

How To Make Candied Orange Peel Easily

Step 1. Peeling Orange

  • To make candied orange peel, it’s important not to crush the peel. Therefore, be careful when peeling your orange. You can make two shallow cuts to divide the peel into four pieces, and then gently peel them from the fruit. Alternatively, it’s also acceptable to cut an orange into four pieces as usual, enjoy the fresh fruit, and save the peel.
  • After obtaining the peels, wash them thoroughly under running water. Then, soak the orange peels in salty water for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour to remove a portion of the orange essential oil, as well as any impurities and residues.
how to make candied orange peel

Step 2. Cutting, rinsing, and squeezing orange peels

  • After soaking the peels in salty water, wash them again and begin cutting them into strips. Each strip should be approximately ½ inch in width to allow for better sugar absorption.
  • Next, rinse and squeeze the peels in water 3 to 5 times to remove the bitterness of the orange peels, continuing until the water runs clear. If you prefer to eliminate any slight bitterness or orange essential oil, you can blanch the orange peels in boiling water for 5 minutes. This step is optional; personally, I enjoy my candied orange peel with a slight bitterness, so I skipped the blanching process. You should try a piece to test if the level of bitterness in orange peels is alright for you.
how to make candied orange peel

Step 3. Marinading with sugar

  • Now, weigh your orange peels again to determine the amount of sugar needed. Typically, the amount of sugar should be equal to the weight of the orange peels, using a 1:1 ratio. Some candied orange peel recipes use a 1.5:1 sugar-to-orange peel ratio, but I’ve found it to be too sweet, even though it helps preserve the orange peels for a longer period. Mix the sugar with the orange peels evenly and allow the mixture to rest for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Step 4. Making Candied Orange Peel

  • After marinating overnight, the granulated sugar transforms into sugar syrup. Now, you can start cooking the peels on the stove. In a pan or skillet, cook the mixture of orange peels and sugar syrup over low heat, stirring regularly. Once it reaches the recrystallization stage (as shown in picture 3), begin stirring continuously to ensure that every piece of orange peel is coated with sugar (as shown in picture 4). Continue to stir on low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Finally, transfer your candied orange peels to a wire rack to allow them to cool down and dry. You can either dry them in the sun for 1 or 2 days (using the traditional method) or use an oven or air fryer for 15-20 minutes. Make sure they are completely cool before transferring them into a jar or box for storage; otherwise, the peels may become moist again within a few hours. It can last up to 3 months at room temperature.
how to make candied orange peel
how to make candied orange peel

How To Make Candied Orange Peel

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

With a bag of oranges, you can make use of the peels to create this delightful treat. Let me share how to make candied orange peel easily.

Ingredients

  • Orange peels from 4 oranges (~400g - 14 oz)
  • 400g (14 oz) sugar
  • A dash of vanilla extract

Instructions

Step 1. Peeling Orange

  • To make candied orange peel, it's important not to crush the peel. Therefore, be careful when peeling your orange. You can make two shallow cuts to divide the peel into four pieces, and then gently peel them from the fruit. Alternatively, it's also acceptable to cut an orange into four pieces as usual, enjoy the fresh fruit, and save the peel. After obtaining the peels, wash them thoroughly under running water. Then, soak the orange peels in salty water for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour to remove a portion of the orange essential oil, as well as any impurities and residues. how to make candied orange peel

Step 2. Cutting, rinsing, and squeezing orange peels

  • After soaking the peels in salty water, wash them again and begin cutting them into strips. Each strip should be approximately ½ inch in width to allow for better sugar absorption.how to make candied orange peel
  • Next, rinse and squeeze the peels in water 3 to 5 times to remove the bitterness of the orange peels, continuing until the water runs clear. If you prefer to eliminate any slight bitterness or orange essential oil, you can blanch the orange peels in boiling water for 5 minutes. This step is optional; personally, I enjoy my candied orange peel with a slight bitterness, so I skipped the blanching process. You should try a piece to test if the level of bitterness in orange peels is alright for you.how to make candied orange peel

Step 3. Marinading with sugar

  • Now, weigh your orange peels again to determine the amount of sugar needed. Typically, the amount of sugar should be equal to the weight of the orange peels, using a 1:1 ratio. Some candied orange peel recipes use a 1.5:1 sugar-to-orange peel ratio, but I've found it to be too sweet, even though it helps preserve the orange peels for a longer period. Mix the sugar with the orange peels evenly and allow the mixture to rest for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.how to make candied orange peel

Step 4. Making Candied Orange Peel

  • After marinating overnight, the granulated sugar transforms into sugar syrup. Now, you can start cooking the peels on the stove. In a pan or skillet, cook the mixture of orange peels and sugar syrup over low heat, stirring regularly. Once it reaches the recrystallization stage (as shown in picture 3), begin stirring continuously to ensure that every piece of orange peel is coated with sugar (as shown in picture 4). Continue to stir on low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.how to make candied orange peel
  • Finally, transfer your candied orange peels to a wire rack to allow them to cool down and dry. You can either dry them in the sun for 1 or 2 days (using the traditional method) or use an oven or air fryer for 15-20 minutes. Make sure they are completely cool before transferring them into a jar or box for storage; otherwise, the peels may become moist again within a few hours. It can last up to 3 months at room temperature.how to make candied orange peel
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 150g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295

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