It's time to be starting the stollens, cranberry breads and various cookies. Many of my recipes call for candied fruits, especially orange peel. I start saving citrus peel in early November. It keeps well wrapped and placed in the refrigerator. This year, I'm only doing orange peel as we seem to have consumed less grapefruit (although delicious).
It's a real treat with a cup of afternoon tea as is--even better when one end is dipped in melted chocolate. I'll chop it as needed to go into sweet treats for the holiday baking.
I include it in my repertoire of food gifts. Packaged in a pretty tin and paired with a special tea, it makes a nice hostess gift as well.
Candied Citrus Peel
3 large navel oranges, well scrubbed
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Carefully remove the peel from the oranges. This is easier if you cut through the peel in four sections.
Cut the four sections of peel into eight sections and, with a sharp knife, cut away as much of the white pith as possible.
Cut the eight sections into pieces approximately 2 1/2 inches by 1/4 inches. This is entirely up to you. You may even dice them depending on how you'll use them.
Put into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for five minutes. Drain and repeat the process once. This gets rid of some of the bitterness. I happen to like the bitterness and sometimes skip this step altogether.
Place the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar. When dissolved, bring to a boil and add the orange peel. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes, uncovered, or until the peel becomes translucent.
Remove from heat, drain, and spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Allow to cool slightly before dredging in sugar to just coat. Place back on the parchment and allow to dry at room temperature overnight. Place in an airtight container. This keeps for a very long time--months if you can refrain from eating them.
If you would like a real treat, dip the peels into melted chocolate to coat about an inch.