Monday, December 10, 2012

Kitchen Adventures; Candied Clementine Peels

Remember how I did that juice cleanse? I just posted about it. Maybe you read it, maybe you didn't. I don't know. I don't know your life. ;)

Basically, it was decided that since we've invested in a juicer, we would have TONS of produce in our house, including a giant bag of clementines from Costco. I always wondered who bought those giant bags of produce, and now I know... because it's me.

For a while I was just tossing the peels. Who wants to eat them anyway? They're bitter and stringy and, well, not delicious.

Then Tracy Benjamin posted this recipe on Shutterbean and it was like a lightbulb went on in ma brain.

No longer would I waste the peels of these delicious snack-sized fruits! It was time to turn this bitter discard into something downright delicious.

First you peel the clementines. It's tempting to just rip into them with your fingers, but take your time, use a paring knife and you will not be sorry.

Perfect little clementine peels get boiled, drained, and boiled again.

Oh! I should tell you that you're supposed to remove the pith (before you boil them)... also that I didn't know what pith was... and that clementines have really thin skins (unlike oranges or lemons) so there's not a lot of pith to remove. I mostly skipped that step unless there was some stringy stuff hanging off my pretty little peels.

And then!

and then you simmer them in simple syrup for a while. Simmer doooown!

It feels like forever, and then you worry that you've let them go too long, but you didn't. You set a timer. It's O.K.

When they're all shiny, take them out and let a paper towel soak up all the excess. Then store your simple syrup for later. Clementine simple syrup margaritas? Yes, please!

Set out a cookie sheet and a cooling rack. I like to put some aluminum foil between them for easier clean up. Wasteful? Perhaps. Do I regret it? No, not really?

Start coating your sticky boiled peels in sugar and lay them out on the rack to dry.

Overnight, into the next day, whatever you wanna do.

Taste test them occasionally to see if they're the consistency you like, and when you've deemed them perfect, package them up and give them as holiday gifts.

I just put them in a bag on my counter... because I'm selfish.

recipe slightly adapted from

8 clementines or tangerines
4 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
4 cups water
Using a pairing knife, make 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each citrus fruit, cutting through peel but not the fruit. Gently remove peel. Do what you want with the rest. Make juice, save them for snacks, whatever you want. :)
Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Trim excess pith from each strip, and discard.

Place strips in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice.

Bring sugar and 4 cups water to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Add the peels to the boiling syrup; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, without stirring, until strips are translucent - about 1 hour (everything always takes longer in my kitchen). Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up and fit a wire cooling rack inside. Using a slotted spoon or sieve, onto a paper towel to absorb some of the excess syrup.Then roll strips in sugar and arrange in a single layer on a wire rack, and let dry for at least 24 hours.

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