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I picked up some wonderful blood oranges at the store this week. Blood oranges date back to ancient times and come into season mid January here in Colorado. I decided this year I would make the 'traditional' bitter blood orange marmalade (complete with peels and fruit segments) as well as sweet blood orange jelly. Those two recipes will be posted here soon! In the meantime, I thought I would share how you can make candy out of your orange peels. Removing the white 'pith' is the most important part of this process. The pith holds onto all the bitterness of the oranges. After blanching and macerating in sugar over night - that helped my peels cut down on the bitter bite that the peels are known for...
Candied Orange Peels
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp rum *optional
Wash and dry the oranges well. Sliced off tops and bottoms of the fruit, lightly score around the perimeter and remove peels. Using a sharp knife, make sure to remove all the white pith from the underside of the peel (this is where the bitterness resides) Cut peels into strips and place into cold water as you work. Let peels soak 20 mins in the cold water, drain and rinse. Place peels in a saucepan, covering with fresh water and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer 5 minutes then drain and plunge into ice water. **Repeat 2 more times, this removes more bitterness. Once done blanching the peels in boiling water, drain and pat peels dry. Place peels in a bowl and add sugar and rum. Mix well until thoroughly coated, cover and chill for at least 6-8 hours in refrigerator. Once sugar turns into a liquid state (looks like corn syrup) it's time to cook the peels. I use my non-stick pan, turn the peels out into pan along with the sugar they were soaking in...bring pan to a boil while constantly stirring peels (do not stop stirring!) lower the heat to a medium boil and keep working the peels in the pan, you are cooking off the liquid in the pan and thereby crystallizing the sugars. You will notice your pan turning more and more white as the sugar crystalizes, once the pan starts to dry out, the peels will be cooked, candied and well coated in sugar. Remove from heat and place on a drying rack. Let air dry for 6-8 hours. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerator up to 3 days.
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Diane Baker: Owner & Creator of Canning and Cooking at Home