Making candied citrus peels sounds easy enough (it's just sugar and citrus peel afterall), but it take a little bit of trial and error to get the texture just right. The first time I tried to make these, they were too moist and it ended up more like a marmalade. I then consulted my mom, who made perfect candied grapefruit peels last year, and she gave me some tips that helped me to achieve an ideal texture for these winter treats.
I was inspired to make these yuzu peels because of my sister's super productive yuzu tree in Berkeley. This year, her tree was particularly giving – not only bearing more fruit, but providing fruit with flawless, bright skins.
This was the bag of fruit she gave me. Score! I owed it to these beautiful fruit to preserve their beautiful skins.
So with a little rejiggering of a few recipes I found online for candied citrus peels and my mom's tips, here's the recipe.
Makes about 2 cups
10 yuzu fruit
4 cups of sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tsp of cream of tartar
1. Clean and dry the yuzu fruit.
Cut them in half.
2. Juice each yuzu.
3. Tear out the flesh of each yuzu gently, preserving some of the pithe.
I like the bitterness of the pithe and make sure to leave a think layer of them in, but I do remove the veiny bits of pithe.
4. Cut the each half of the yuzu fruit peel in eighths.
And now you've got a lot of little triangles of yuzu peel:
5. In a heavy bottom pot, bring about 8-10 cups of water to a boil. Once it achieves a boil, bring the heat down to med-low and add the yuzu peels.
6. Simmer for 45 minutes. Drain the peels.
7. In the same pot, combine 6 cups of water, 4 cups of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, and bring to a rumbling boil.
Then bring the heat down to low and add the drained yuzu peels. Simmer for 50 minutes.
Then drain the yuzu peels. Reserve the sugar syrup for cocktails or other uses.
8. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Lay each peel on the wire rack.
This is the most time consuming part.
Listen to an engaging podcast or your favorite album of the year.
9. Some recipes told me to air dry the peels for a few days, but this did not dry them out sufficiently. My mom says she bakes them on low heat, "Until they are dry on the outside, but are still a little chewy on the inside."
For me, this took about 4 hours at 200˚F in the oven. Check every hour or so to feel and taste for the right texture.
10. Coat them in regular granulated sugar.
As the yuzu peels line up on the baking sheet, it really looks like a festive winter wonderland.
I'll bag the peels into 20 little baggies and bring them as gifts to my family in Tokyo next week!
Yuzu is a true sign of the winter. Happy New Year!