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How to Make Candy From Orange Peels

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

Make old-fashioned orange peel candy with this easy-to-follow recipe.

Make old-fashioned orange peel candy with this easy-to-follow recipe.

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 Calamondin oranges, which are a hybrid and usually very sour.

This is my Calamondin dwarf orange tree.

This is my Calamondin 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

  1. Grab a pot full of water and bring it to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the citrus peels and let boil for about 15 minutes. This process will remove bitterness from the rind, and you will see the white from the rind become clear.
  3. After 15 minutes, 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; the sugar also helps kill the bitterness.

After the peels are boiled

After the peels are boiled

Step 3: Add Sugar and Water

  1. Over medium heat, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil, as shown in the photo below. You will see many bubbles begin to form as the mixture becomes more of a thick syrup.
  3. Stir frequently, turning down the temperature every so often 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.
  4. Cook for 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 should be very thick—maybe even gritty in the bottom of the pan.

  1. Pour off the syrup from the peels by straining. You can also just fish the peels from the pan. Some people choose to keep the orange syrup to use in other recipes. (Don't waste!)
  2. Place the candied peels on a drying rack and separate the pieces. The peels will look very clear and very sticky at this point.
  3. 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 these delicious homemade candies!

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.