Skinny Candied Orange Peel

Skinny, skin, thin, get it? Sorry for the poor pun. But this week, as promised, I bring you candied orange peel that is basically as thin as orange zest. Last week’s orange peel was thick strips utilizing both the peel and the pith.


Both are good for gift giving for all the fall and winter holidays, and both are excellent for cooking (see suggestions in last week’s blog). Next week I’m going to write about making a beet salad from oven-roasted beets and using candied orange peel in both the vinaigrette and the salad itself.

Instead of packing the Skinny Candied Orange Peel in glass jars tied with ribbons, I started shopping for useful containers, any see-through pitcher or basket that could be re-used after the peels were gone. The containers I have found so far: a small antique wire basket, a small footed glass compote dish, a nice small glass pitcher and a contemporary 1-cup measuring cup that has both U.S. and metric measures.

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About leftovers, syrup and sugar: If you want to save the cooking syrup (and why not?) to sweeten coffee or tea, to drizzle over pancakes or puddings, then you must thin it with about 1 cup of water. Otherwise when it cools it will crystallize into a solid mass of orange sugar. Simply stir the water into the hot syrup after the peels are removed. Pour this through a metal fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Let cool and transfer to a container with a lid.

Transfer the sugar used to toss the peels into a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl and sift out any large particles such as the cloves used for flavor in this recipe.

Re-use the perfectly good sugar in cooking.

Skinny Candied Orange Peel

Yield: 5 to 6 cups


  • 6 large or 12 small/medium navel oranges
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sugar as needed for coating candied peels


  1. Using a very sharp potato peeler, peel the orange in lengthwise strips getting as little of the pith as possible (there will be some).
  2. Place the peeled zest strips in a 4-quart pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, boil for one minute and drain. Repeat three times. This helps minimize bitterness.
  3. While the oranges are draining, fill the pan with 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, the cloves and the salt. Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, add the drained zest. Swirl the pan, do not stir.
  4. Cook, maintaining a gentle boil, for at least one hour, until the orange zest is translucent.
  5. Drain the peel into a fine mesh sieve set over a metal bowl to catch the syrup.
  6. Place a parchment paper sheet on a half sheet pan. Spoon on about 1 cup of sugar.
  7. Dump drained candied peels onto the sugar and start tossing and separating using two forks.
  8. When all the peels are well coated in sugar, transfer them to metal racks (placed at right angles so the peels don't fall through) to dry. Let dry at least overnight, preferably 24 hours.
  9. Place in small useful see-through containers with a 1-cup or less capacity, such as a glass pitcher, a metal basket, a footed compote dish, a 1-cup measuring cup with both metric and U.S. markings, a glass sugar bowl with lid, any decorative container that may be re-used. Wrap each container in plastic wrap or see-through wrap, and tie with seasonal themed ribbon.
  10. Label: Use within 2 weeks, freezing unused portion for later use, or freeze and use as needed.



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