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Japanify: Candied Yuzu PeelMaking 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.

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 2 cups

10 yuzu fruit
4 cups of sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tsp of cream of tartar

METHOD

1. Clean and dry the yuzu fruit.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Cut them in half.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

2. Juice each yuzu.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

3. Tear out the flesh of each yuzu gently, preserving some of the pithe.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

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.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

4. Cut the each half of the yuzu fruit peel in eighths.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

And now you've got a lot of little triangles of yuzu peel:

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

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.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

6. Simmer for 45 minutes. Drain the peels.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu 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.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Then bring the heat down to low and add the drained yuzu peels. Simmer for 50 minutes.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Then drain the yuzu peels. Reserve the sugar syrup for cocktails or other uses.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

8. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Lay each peel on the wire rack.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

This is the most time consuming part.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Listen to an engaging podcast or your favorite album of the year.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

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."

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

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.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

10. Coat them in regular granulated sugar.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

As the yuzu peels line up on the baking sheet, it really looks like a festive winter wonderland.

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

I'll bag the peels into 20 little baggies and bring them as gifts to my family in Tokyo next week!

Japanify: Candied Yuzu Peels

Yuzu is a true sign of the winter. Happy New Year!

Column: Japanify
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