Candied lemon rinds can be chopped up and added to ginger cookies (just use less candied ginger) or any cookie or quickbread containing dried cranberries or cherries. Lemon or orange rinds also go into panforte, an Italian treat made with nuts, dried fruit, and, sometimes, chocolate.
A few notes before you begin: Using lemons from someone’s tree is the best way to go. The rinds of store-bought lemons are treated with a waxy film. You can still use them, but give them a thorough scrubbing beforehand. I used Meyer lemons, but you can use any other kind of lemon or orange. If using large oranges, opt for two fewer than the number of lemons called for in this recipe. I use a candy thermometer to tell when the syrup has reached 230F. If you don’t have one, however, you can still make this recipe. Just pay attention to the visual cues in the recipe. When the bubbles change from large to small, you’ve reached the desired temperature.
Candied Lemon Rinds
Makes about 6 cups
- 7 lemons
- 4 cups sugar (plus extra for garnish)
- 2 cups water
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Have a spider skimmer or slotted spoon and a candy/deep-fry thermometer handy.
Halve the lemons lengthwise and pull out the pulp (or cut it out with a paring knife if it’s being stubborn) but leave the pith intact. Juice the pulp and save the juice for another use.
Put the lemon rinds in a pot and cover with an inch or so of water. Bring the pot to a boil. Drain the lemons and repeat, covering them with water and bringing the pot to a boil. Do this one more time for a total of three blanching sessions.
Let the lemon rinds cool to room temperature. With a sharp knife, cut the rinds lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Return the sliced rinds to the pot and add the sugar and water. Put the pot over low heat and cook until a syrup forms, stirring the rinds and sugar occasionally. Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook the rinds until the syrup reaches 230ºF. (At this point, the larger, more watery bubbles have become smaller and are bubbling more rapidly. If they are still lazy bubbles, raise the heat to medium-high.)
Remove the pot from the heat and let the rinds rest in the syrup for 30 minutes.
Using the skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the rinds to the parchment paper in one layer. Let sit, uncovered, in a cool corner of the kitchen, overnight. At this point, they are done or you can sprinkle them with sugar. Store the candied peels in the refrigerator. Candied peels will keep for up to 6 months.