Candied Lemon Peel 糖漬檸檬皮
By Ellen L. Published: 2016-06-18
This simple little homemade fruit candy is lemon nirvana. There's simply no other way to describe it! The smell of the candy, the taste of it...oh...my...lemony goodness! Just so fresh, sweet, lemony and full of sunshine. Soft lemony tenderness encased in a thin satisfying crunch of crisped sugar, an 'oh so heavenly!' aroma and taste of fresh lemon, a soft gleaming yellow that is just so comforting to the soul. This Candied Lemon Peel 糖漬檸檬皮 is just about divine in our experience, not just the best candy that we have made at home but one of the top of all the candies we have ever had. Plus it's made from just lemon and sugar! How cool is that?!
You will need some nice fresh lemons, heavy, plump, smooth skinned, preferably organic. Usually when you make lemon zest you only use the yellow skin part of the peel but for this candy you want the lemons that look and feel thick skinned as the tenderness of this candied lemon peel comes in large portion from the white bit of the peel, the lemon pith. Give your lemons a good long wash in running water.
I usually score my lemons into approx five sections, peel the peels off and then slice them into 1/4" slices lengthwise. Not liking to waste the lemon itself, I usually then squeeze the juice from the lemons, strain to remove any seeds, and then freeze the lemon juice in my ice cube maker. Once iced up I can then bag the lemon ice cubes into ziplock bags, to be used whenever fresh lemon juice is called for. You can also make an awesome glass of quick iced lemonade by dropping a lemon iced cube and some sugar into a mug and adding some boiled water. Stir, stir to melt, top up with cold water and you have lemonade!
The lemon peels next need to be brought up to a boil in water. Once boiled the water is discarded and the process repeated a few times. This is to rid the spongy lemon pith of any bitterness. You can check the bitterness level quite easily by just taking a bite of the peel. If it still tastes bitter then repeat the boil. I have found that I need to boil around 3-5 times before the bitterness is almost completely gone.
Now the lemon peels are ready for boiling in a sugar syrup until quite reduced, thick and very sticky, the peel very very tender and translucent. At the next stage a lot of lemon peel candy recipes will have you just roll the now sticky syrup coated peels in sugar and then you're done. I tried that and ended up with a sticky mess the next day as the sugar had liquified. So I thought back to when we did our Chinese Candied Kumquats 糖漬金橘 and Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky Bakkwa 自制猪肉干, of how we used the oven at a very low temperature to dry out but not cook. So the next batch of syrup coated lemon peels went into the oven and came out...perfect! Tender on the inside with the outside syrup dried to a thin crust, smelling of fresh, fresh lemon and tasting just divinely yummilicious!
We can't get enough of these lusciously sunshiney Candied Lemon Peels!! Hope that y'all like them as much as we do!
Candied Lemon Peel Recipe 糖漬檸檬皮
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
Wash lemons. Use sharp knife to score lemon peel into four or five sections lengthwise. Peel off. Slice peels into 1/4" slices.
Put peels into a small pot and add cold water to cover. Heat over medium heat until water boils. Remove from heat and drain water. Repeat this 2 or more times until the lemon peel doesn't taste bitter. Set aside drained lemon peels.
Add 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water to small pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and add in the peels. Simmer over very low heat until the white pith is very soft and transparent, and the sugar water is reduced to a very thick sticky syrup that clings to the peels, around half hour to an hour depending on your heat. It is important that the syrup should coat peels very stickily so that the granulated sugar coating will stay on.
Remove the peels to a tray, separating them, and let air dry for a half hour or so until the syrup on peels is tacky to the touch. Pour granulated white sugar into a shallow dish and roll peels in sugar until thoroughly coated. Place sugar coated peels on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. In a 150 F oven with door open 2 inches, bake for 1 to 2 hours or until the lemon peel feels completely dry and hard to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool completely. Store in air tight container for 2-3 weeks. Enjoy your bottled sunshine!
More Fruitilicious Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Lychee Popsicle 荔枝冰棒
Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea 香港凍檸茶
Passion Fruit Ice Cream 百香果冰淇淋
Hong Kong Style Mango Pudding 香港芒果布甸