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Candied peel - making your own to give those warm citrus notes to your Christmas baking

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Candied peel
Candied peel
Candied peel is what gives Christmas baking it's warm citrussy notes. What you buy rarely compares to what you can make yourself at home and it's really easy.

Last year I made loads and put it in pretty jars and gave to family and friends as an early Christmas present.  I juice oranges every morning for breakfast and to build up a supply of peel I save the orange shell and put in a plastic bag in the fridge.  You can use lemon and lime as well and just freeze the juice if you don't want to waste it.

Read more Christmas stories here

Recipe
Orange, lemon and lime peel
Sugar syrup made of 2:1 ratio sugar to water. (600mg sugar : 300ml water)

When you have a decent quantity of peel, usually 8 oranges and 4 lemons and limes. Remove the skin of the orange or fruit leaving a decent amount of pith (the soft white spongy stuff).  Put in a saucepan with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and water to just cover.  Bring to boil and simmer until the peel is tender.   Be careful as they will soften at different times. Just whip out the ones cooked first with a tongs.  Drain and cool. 
Make up your sugar syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water and bringing to the boil.  Place the peel pieces in and lower heat to simmer until almost all of the sugar syrup has been absorbed.  Lift out your pieces of peel and place on a wire rack on top of a flat metal tray covered with foil or baking paper.  Place in a warm, dry place overnight until dry.  Do not throw out the rest of your sugar syrup.  Next day re-heat syrup and dip peel into it and place back on rack for more drying.  When completely dry, store in jars in a warm dry place.

When you want to use it, just cut to size and add to mincemeat, puddings and fruit cakes.  The taste is spectacular and really noticeable in a Christmas cake in particular.


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