November 18, 2012
Last Halloween, M dressed up as a lemon head. I never eat lemon heads, but that night he carried around a box full and I ended up nabbing a few. My first thought when I tasted these tart, sweet candied lemon peels was, "Hey! These are like an all-natural, way more delicious, homemade lemon head!"
These lemon peels pack lots of pucker. As tangy as they are, don't get me wrong -- they're definitely 100% sweet treat. I love the slight outer crunch that gives way to a chewy center. I also love knowing that these are homemade. Once you make these lemon peels you'll start to get obsessed with candying all sorts of citrus peels... I can't eat an orange or grapefruit without saving the rind for candying!
A few ideas.... Dip each slice in melted dark chocolate, set on wax paper to cool, and dole out in favor baggies as hostess gifts or a thoughtful present this season. Chop them coarsely and sprinkle atop holiday cakes for an element of decorative shimmer and texture. Create beautiful crunchy and sweet chocolate bark with lemon peels and pistachios. Or simply keep a bowl out on the mantel for nibbling through the season. Next time you're using a lemon for its juice, reconsider tossing the peel. There's so much more to create!
Candied Lemon Peels
8 lemons (washed in fruit & veggie wash, or organic)
4 cups sugar, plus extra for coating
Cut top and bottom off each lemon. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off strips of skin, lengthwise from top to bottom. Place peels in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for one minute. Drain and repeat two more times. Remove peels to a separate bowl. Combine four cups sugar with three cups cold water in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lemon peels and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for one hour over low heat. Drain peels from liquid, reserving liquid for later use in drinks or recipes as desired.
Spread out the lemon peels on a baking sheet to cool. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then toss with the extra sugar. Dry 8-10 hours or overnight, then store in an airtight container.