Candied Citrus Peel
Okay, citrus fruit doesn't grow in Vermont, but it is in season in parts of the U.S. around the holidays. In the spirit of supporting other farmers, we tried out candying citrus peel with maple syrup and our first attempt, while not perfect, was quite tasty!
Rather than share a tried and true recipe, we're just going to note what we did (modified from Fannie Farmer) and encourage you to try something similar....
We used three organic oranges (this is critical - the peel is where pesticides collect so use organic, and be sure to wash the oranges well with a touch of dish-soap or produce soap) and cut the peel off in strips, then cut those strips down into thin strips. We soaked them in cold water, bringing it up to a boil and simmering gently for 30 minutes, then draining off the water, adding fresh cold water and simmering again until just fork tender. This removes the bitterness of the peel and pit, leaving just that lovely slightly bitter flavor.
Here we added 2 cups of maple syrup to the peels and simmered until they were very tender and had absorbed a lot of the maple syrup. You could use less - true to form, Riva didn't exactly read the recipe carefully when she modified the white sugar and corn syrup ingredients!
Once we finished simmering we left the peels covered overnight to soak up the maximum amount of yummy syrup. Bringing it to a gentle simmer again we then drained the peel and set them out on wax paper. James enthusiastically helped coat the candied peel in white sugar (next year we'll be prepared with maple sugar!) and that was that. The flavor was pretty amazing, the slightly edgy bitterness of citrus mixed with sweet maple, and a crunch of sugar on the outside. Delicious! Look for next year's version when we really nail it down. Maybe we'll even sell it?