Since I bought my electric citrus juicer, I stock an abundance of fresh oranges. Having a glass of fresh orange juice every morning helps the spirit while waiting for Spring to stop dragging her feet. I thought it would be fun to try my hand at some candied orange peels since I had so many.
The recipe I found seemed simple enough. I used a potato peeler to peel each of the eight oranges in one long strip. Scrapping the white flesh off of the peel is necessary due to it’s bitter taste; a tedious job until I got a rhythm going. I cut each strip into 2 inch pieces and placed them in a pan with LOTS of sugar and a couple of cups of water. I had some cardamon seeds so put in about 1/4 cup thinking they would be a great flavor addition to the orange peels.
Distraction is the enemy of the cook, as it was for me this day. My fire was too hot and everything cooked too long. When I glanced over to my pot, a saw a vicious foam boiling to the top of the pan. You know. The kind of foam that is just seconds from collapsing and adhering to the bottom of the pan. Instead of a light tan color, it was “football brown”. I removed the pan, than dashed to one cupboard to get a strainer and slid to another cupboard to grab a bowl, and dumped the whole batch into the strainer, letting the thick syrup ooze into the bowl below. Next, I lined a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the orange peels on it to cool.
The clean up turned out to be more arduous than I had anticipated. The bowl that the syrup drained into cooled into a concrete like substance. I tried chipping it out with a knife without success. Even my ice pick proved futile. Next I tried hot water. Then hot water with dish soap. Multiple applications over a 2 hour period of the latter finally did the trick.
Even though the candied orange peels didn’t turn out exactly like the recipe, I didn’t think they turned out all that bad. Even the cardamon seeds had “become one” with the orange peels. Once you get past the crumbly caramel on the outside, the orange peel within softens and and it is quite tasty. Daughter-in-law was not impressed. Said they were too strong and took her 2 hours to remove the peel from her teeth. Or maybe that was the caramel coating. Still, I think it would make an excellent sweet desert on a day when grocery store shelves would be empty.
BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE! I was not done mutilating this recipe. I threw a handful of the orange peels into my Magic Bullet and ground them to a breadcrumb consistency for a tisane (chopped fruit to make a “tea”). This last endeavor was most excellent. No honey needed. Even daughter-in-law liked it.
Maybe another day I’ll try this again. Maybe another recipe. Maybe next time a little more focused attention. But for now I’m going to throw some in my bug out bag then have myself a cup of orange tea.