Thursday, March 24, 2011

Golden: Candied Lemon Peel

I have always loved lemons.
My Mom says it has some correlation to how she always wanted lemons while she was pregnant with me, but I'm not sure which way the lemon love would have been moving; from me to her, or from her to me. A mother's experience during pregnancy has been shown to affect a child's tastes in some ways, like salt preference (read that article, it's so neat!), but I don't think fruit cravings have been researched yet.

My Mom and I often make lemon meringue pie together when I am home, or sometimes we skip the pie and just make lemon curd to spread on fresh bread, which is at times even better than pie. Mom actually made jars and jars of lemon curd and lime curd to be drizzled over our wedding cake...or cakes, rather. Nathanael, with the help of his Dad and some loving friends and family, made three towering cakes, one orange, one lime, and the biggest one lemon. They were amazingly delicious, and disappeared in an instant.

For the candied lemon peels, I'm only going to give you the brief recipe at the end, not super detailed instructions on technique, because they are exactly the same as for the candied grapefruit peel
But I am going to show you pictures to get you appetized.

Lemons are beautiful to work with. From the washing and drying

and drooling over those flavor filled rinds, 

to choosing which way to cut them. 
In a curl,

or straight? (I found straight less time consuming.) 
Either way use a sharp, non-serrated knife!

And don't get too distracted. 

Once my lemons were in the nude, I decided to turn my strips of peel more narrow than the grapefruit ones so they would make a better dessert garnish and go a little further as a snack (more pieces). I just cut them down the middle to make ~1/4 inch wide strips.

The changes of water can be cut down to twice instead of four times, since lemon is less bitter than grapefruit.

Don't get scared when the strips turn pale.


Once cooked in sugar, they will become vibrant once more...though using a new color altogether. (Which is why the current series is golden, and not yellow.)

And with a little more patience to let them dry,

and then sugar them, and you will have the most delicious natural lemon candy that tastes almost exactly like an old fashioned lemon drop. 
They are not tangy like the grapefruit peels, just lemony and sweet. 

Candied Lemon Peel 
10 fresh, firm lemons well washed and buffed dry
About 3 cups sugar

1. Peel each lemon, being sure your strips mostly cut below the oil chambers, but don't include too much pith.
2. Place the strips in cold water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 1 minute.Drain well and repeat the boiling process, 1 more time. Discard the drained water.
3. After the final boil, pat the peel dry. Then combine the weighed peel with an approx. equal amount of sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. (It should be about 1 pound of peel to about 1 pound [2 cups] of sugar). Add enough water (about 1/4 cup) to just cover the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the peel is transparent. Remove from the heat and drain well. Do save the syrup you drain off for other delicious purposes. 
5. Place the peel in single layers on wire racks to drain and dry for at least 3 hours, or up to 8 hours.
6. Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a large glass jar. Add the dried peel, seal and toss until all peels are dusted with sugar and no longer sticky. Store well sealed in a cool dry place.
[Remember to reference the grapefruit peel post for more detailed info.]

 If you don't have the time or lemons to spare, check out the new listings for candied lemon peel I have put up in my shop this week!


  1. OMG! My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures!

  2. That looks delicious! We have a lemon tree and everyone in my family loves all things lemony, but I only make lemon curd and bars. The one time we tried to candy the peel it ended up mushy. I'll have to try again with your recipe.

  3. Yum. This takes me back to my childhood when my grandma would make candied orange peel.

  4. This sounds like the perfect summer treat! I bet it smells wonderful while you're making it. My boyfriend would probably really like this recipe as he loves all things lemon. He can drink lemonade by the gallon! Do you like candied ginger as well?

  5. These look so wonderful -- my mouth is watering just looking at them! This is definitely something my mother would love to do, so I think I've found the next new recipe for us to try together!


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