Candied Lemon Peel

Atlanta summer, I'm not sure if I can handle you. Do you ever feel too hot to eat? Okay, perhaps I don't just quit eating entirely, since I am a foodie at heart. But for me, summer weather = fruit and lots of it. I'd be quite content consuming loads of fruit and drinking fruity cocktails all day long. Oh yes. 

As far as fruits I love, lemons exude summer in every way.  There's nothing like a tall glass of fresh squeezed lemonade in the heat of summer. Whenever I plan to make fresh lemonade, my natural next step is to make a giant batch of candied lemon peel. I adore candied citrus peel; it makes a beautiful garnish on any dessert, particularly on truffles, cupcakes, and panna cotta. 

Candied lemon peel is delicious on its own, and particularly decadent when dipped in dark chocolate, YUM. I love using these in cocktails [will share some of my favorite summer cocktail recipes soon!]

Candied lemon peel makes a perfect hostess gift or wedding favor when packed in a petite jar. I always appreciate receiving gifts that are handmade with love.  [trust me, these babies are time consuming, so if you do receive it from me, just remember it took me HOURS to make!]

Read on for my recipe, some beautiful Meyer lemon photography and check out the other ways I made use of one dozen Meyer Lemons!

I like to cut my peel into thin strips, hand knotted twists, and tiny bits.

CANDIED LEMON PEEL

[I used a dozen lemons in my photographed recipe, but that's A LOT, so I'd recommend using just six]

  • Six Lemons [if you can find Meyer lemons, go for those but regular old lemons work just fine!]
  • Water [this amount will vary]
  • 2.5 Cups Sugar
  • 2.5 Cups Water
  • Strainer
  • Wire Rack
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment
  • Mason Jar

1. Quarter all lemons lengthwise and juice, reserving the juice for other recipes.

2. Remove the pulp from the peel using a pairing knife. [if using Meyer lemons don't worry about getting the white pith off; Meyer lemons have notoriously thin skin, so it would be a nearly impossible experience to remove the pith!] 

3. Slice peel into strips [or other shapes- get creative!]. If you'd like to slice these in super thin strips, which make for lovely candied curls, allow the peel to dry for an hour or so, otherwise they can be difficult to slice.

4. Add peel to a sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain peel and repeat this step 2-3 times, until the peel is chewy and not terribly bitter.  Because it's hard to remove the white pith, this step takes longer with Meyer lemons than it does with your standard lemon.

5. While boiling the peel the last time, combine the 2.5 cups water and sugar together in a separate pot and dissolve sugar on medium to medium high heat [you DON'T want this to boil, or you'll end up with caramel, or badly burnt sugar!]

6. Add the strained peel to the sugar syrup, and cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.  Again, keep an eye on this so that nothing boils or gets too unruly.

7. Strain peel [reserve the liquid as it makes a fantastic Meyer lemon simple syrup- perfect for cocktails, hot tea, iced tea and more!] and drain on wire rack, set over a baking sheet lined with parchment.

8. Allow peel to dry for at least 4-6 hours- the longer the better!

9. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to a mason jar, and fill with dried peel and shake to combine. Place sugared peel back on parchment Try to spread out the peel in a single layer. I've made so much so this may be nearly impossible, but they really do look beautiful when you give them space to breathe. Loosely cover with more parchment and allow to dry for a day or two [patience really is a virtue]

10. Store in an airtight container- DO NOT refrigerate! These can last for months, as long as they're stored properly.