Sunday, 15 November 2020

Candied Peel


Along with the polarising affect sprouts have on people at Christmas, candied peel also causes folk to fall into one of two camps, like it or loathe it. I have some sympathy for those who have formed there opinion based on nothing more than experiencing the pre-cut product that is most commonly used. Even buying the larger pieces of candied peel, when you can find them will deliver a much better experience, but as in so many cases eating the peel you candy yourself is infinitely more enjoyable. 

I regularly candy the peel of the large navel oranges we get in the UK early in the year, but my friend Chas Nicholson, well known for his regular article 'Dining in', in the Tannat Chronicle, introduced me to the idea of candied pomello skin. I couldn’t believe I had never thought of it. In many ways it makes more sense to candy pomello skin than any other, after all, pomellos, now readily available, have such a thick skin and you end up throwing it all away and are left with flesh that is little bigger than a grapefruit. 

The following method works well for all citrus peel.


For this recipe you will need;

The skin of 1 pomello

1 kilo of sugar combined with 2 litres of water to make a syrup

Copious amounts of water to blanch the peel.


Begin by peeling the pomello. I carefully remove it in 4 pieces then cut each piece into 2 forming 8 petal like pieces. Place the peel in the largest saucepan you have with lots of water and bring to a boil. You'll find the pith causes the pieces to be incredibly buoyant, far more than orange or lemon peel. Simmer for 4 or 5 minutes then drain the peel and repeat the process. You need to achieve a waterlogged state for the peel before moving onto the next step. I found I needed to move more stubborn pieces about a bit to ensure they all became saturated.

Weigh out a kilo of granulated sugar and stir into 2 litres of water. Place the syrup into the saucepan and stir while bringing to the boil. Add the drained peel and gently simmer for 2 or 3 hours, moving the pieces from time to time so each piece gets to be at the bottom of the pan. Drain well on a cooling rack before placing in a dehydrator or a domestic oven set on the lowest heat, to dry out. 

When completely dry, store in a lidded jar. It will keep for 3 months or more but is best used within the the first month.


It may seem like a lot of fuss, but believe me, it's not particularly labour intensive and the end product is very special. I sometimes cut my candied peel into fine strips before dipping them in chocolate, along with small packets of the peel itself, they make excellent gifts at Christmas time when candied peel is more often used.

This method works well for all citrus peel but don't ever skimp on the initial blanching, at least 2 or 3 times is ideal.

The large amount of syrup used is because of the size of the peel, the syrup can be saved in a bottle and stored in the fridge to use a second time.