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How to Make Candy From Orange Peels

Justine Nalbach makes orange peel candy from her own homegrown oranges.

Old-fashioned orange peel candy

Old-fashioned orange peel candy

Have You Ever Tried Citrus Peel Candy?

Citrus peel candy is one of the best homemade candies out there. The candying process removes the bitter taste of the peels, and you're left with sugary, chewy, citrus-flavored goodness.

Generally, we throw the orange peels in the garbage, or if you're savvy, you dispose of them in a compost bin. This is a way we can make something delicious and cut down on food waste at the same time! You can substitute any citrus you like or make a mix of several—let your mind go wild. I used Calomondin oranges, which are a hybrid and usually very sour.

This is my Calomondin dwarf orange tree

This is my Calomondin dwarf orange tree

You will need a pan to boil and also a plate or drying rack for when the candy is finished.

Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large or 12 small oranges
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water (plus a pot full for boiling the rind)

It's a pretty simple ingredient list, right? Let's get started.

My 12-year-old assisted me with peeling.

My 12-year-old assisted me with peeling.

Step 1: Peel Your Fruit

Peel all of your citrus fruit. You can cut down on the bitter taste by removing most of the white part from the rind. But if you feel like you don't have the time to do so, the boiling process in the next step will help do away with that bitterness. This recipe works for any citrus, you can use whatever you like. Some people like to cut the rind up into small strips, but I prefer bigger pieces.

Boiling the rind

Boiling the rind

Step 2: Boil the Rind

Grab a pot full of water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the citrus peels and let boil for about 15 minutes. This process will remove bitterness from the rind, you will see the white from the rind become clear. After 15 minutes you will drain the water from the pan and return the peels.

Note: If you are using regular oranges you get from the grocery store, I recommend boiling the peels twice to make sure they are free from the bitter taste, but you certainly don't have to because the sugar also helps kill the bitterness.

After the peels are boiled

After the peels are boiled

Step 3: Add Sugar and Water

Over medium heat, add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil as seen in the photo below. You will see many bubbles begin to form as the mixture becomes more of a thick syrup. Stir frequently, every so often turning down the temperature as the water boils off. You can use a candy thermometer and make sure it does not get above 250 degrees if needed, but as long as you keep stirring and don't heat it too high you should be fine. Cook about 40 minutes until very syrupy.

Bubbling syrup

Bubbling syrup

Leaving candy to dry

Leaving candy to dry

Step 4: Pick Out Candy to Dry

At this point, your mixture is very thick maybe even gritty in the bottom of the pan. You will pour off the syrup from the peels by straining or you may just fish the peels from the pan. Some people chose to keep the orange syrup to use in other recipes. (Don't waste!) Place the candied peels on a drying rack and separate the pieces. The peels will look very clear and very sticky at this point. Cover the candy overnight with a piece of parchment or foil.

The next morning

The next morning

Step 5: Enjoy!

In the morning you will see any water which was left in the candy has evaporated leaving a sugary sweet treat! Just scrape the candies off the drying rack or plate and enjoy! I like to store mine in a jar, or in a zip lock bag to keep them fresh. My kids really enjoy them, and I can't keep the toddler's hand out of the jar. Due to Covid-19, I have been stuck in my house making all these sweet recipes and focusing on being more sustainable in the future. I hope you enjoy!

Homegrown Oranges

I used my own oranges that I grew indoors in Michigan! Want to see how? Read my article on how to grow oranges indoors.

Comments

Justine Nalbach (author) from Michigan on July 27, 2020:

Thanks for reading Liza, I encourage you to try growing your own dwarf citrus indoors, it can be very rewarding!

Liza from USA on April 02, 2020:

You are so lucky to have a homegrown oranges! I wish I could have that. I love the smell of peel oranges and I was planning to make oranges peel candy as I have a lot of oranges I bought from the store. Thanks for the guide!