by Chenoa Bol
2 cups prepared citrus peel (~3 grapefruit, 5 - 6 oranges or 7 - 8 lemons)
4 cups cane sugar, divided
4 cups filtered water
PREPARE CITRUS PEEL: Using a chefs knife or paring knife, carefully remove the peel from the citrus fruit, taking care to leave a thin layer of the white pith on the peel and a layer of pith on the fruit itself (note that too much pith left on the peel will be overly bitter). Slice your peel into desired shape (leave it as is, slice into strips, tear into small pieces, etc.)
BLANCH: Fill a 4-quart pot with lid halfway with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add citrus peel and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain to discard the water.
REPEAT this step 2 more times, using a fresh pot of water each time.
CANDY CITRUS PEEL: Combine 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water in a 4-quart sauce pot; whisk to combine. Bring sugar mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add blanched citrus peel, reduce heat to low and let simmer (uncovered) until fruit peel becomes translucent and the liquid begins to thicken. This will take approximately 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat when you begin to see small sugar bubbles form on the surface.
If you see small bubbles AND the peel is translucent, continue on to the next step.
If you see small bubbles BUT your peel is still opaque, add 1 cup of boiling water to the pot and continue to simmer until your peel becomes translucent.
STRAIN & BOTTLE BONUS FRUIT SYRUP: Place a strainer over a medium-sized metal bowl. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the candied peel to the strainer. Pour the sugar syrup over the peels, into the bowl. Let your fruit syrup cool completely before transferring it to a jar or bottle. The citrus syrup will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely; however will taste best if used within 1- 2 months. Use syrup in cocktails, mix with sparking water or use in baking!
SUGAR COAT: Place remaining 2 cups of sugar in a separate, medium-sized metal bowl. Working in batches, carefully transfer candied peel to the sugar and toss to coat. Transfer sugared peel to a sheet pan/tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Let your sugared peel air dry at room temperature for 1-3 days. Transfer to an airtight container when the sugar on the outside becomes crisp, keeping in mind that you want a soft, toothsome inside.
Note: Save the sugar that you used to coat your candy peel and use in your next batch of sugar syrup OR incorporate into any baking project (muffins, scones, cookies, cakes, etc.