I love citrus fruit. Living in Michigan means we don’t really have local citrus. I try to buy it in season and get the best quality I can find, grown sustainably. In the past, I have ordered other items from Chaffin Family Orchards in California. I received an email that they had navel oranges available to ship. I ordered a box. It took a bit longer than expected to arrive due to the USPS postal issues caused by the pandemic. They arrived in excellent condition. These are the juiciest and sweetest oranges we have ever had. We can’t stop eating them.
Not local, but sustainable
Chaffin Family Orchards is not local to me, but we can’t get local citrus. Therefore, I make exceptions to buying local, because I love fresh citrus in season. That burst of sunshine and the added vitamin C in winter makes the winter blues just a bit sweeter. Chaffin Family Orchards is a family-owned permaculture farm where they grow things like nature intended. Top-notch quality and great customer service. This is a splurge for us, but a healthy one we feel good about. Since, quality isn’t inexpensive and shipping across the country is included in the price, I don’t want to waste any of this goodness. I asked my family to save their orange peels in a container in the refrigerator. It only took a couple days for me to have a good-sized pile of orange peels.
Making honey-candied orange peels
One of my favorite treats that we get at Passover time is chocolate covered orange peels. They are my father’s favorite candy in the world. I decided with these delicious oranges, I could try and make some. However, they are generally made with sugar, and in the interest of using a less refined sweetener, I decided to try honey and maple sugar. Honey-candied orange peel became the plan.
I took the pieces of orange peel and with a spoon I scrapped off some of the white pith. You don’t have to do this, but the pith is where the bitterness is and these oranges had pretty thick pith. I didn’t scrape it all off, but some. I did discover that the peels that had sat in the fridge a couple of days were easier to scrape without breaking the flesh of the peel. The fresher the peels, the harder to scrape.
After scraping some of the pith off, I sliced the peels into strips. Then I dropped them into boiling water and let them boil for 1-2 minutes and put them immediately into an ice bath.
Reserve the honey syrup!
In a small saucepan I added the honey and water and brought to a simmer. Once simmering, I added the sliced orange peels. Make sure all the peels are submerged in the honey syrup. I brought them up to a simmer, again. Keep a close eye on them, stirring them every so often to make sure they all stay in the syrup. Let them simmer for about 50 minutes till they appeared mostly translucent.
Once the peels looked translucent, I strained them out of the syrup, reserving the syrup. In a bowl, I tossed each peel in maple sugar and placed them on a wire rack to dry. The reserved syrup I placed in a bottle and refrigerated. It is delicious in a cup of hot tea, and can be added to Kombucha for a second ferment, or used in other ways.
After letting the honey-candied orange peel dry overnight, I dipped them in melted chocolate. They are a delicious treat! I shared them with my dad and he loved them!
Honey-Candied Orange PeelCourse: Dessert and sweets, fruit, chocolate, honeyDifficulty: Medium
Orange peels from 6-8 sustainably-grown/non-waxed oranges
1 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup water
Melted chocolate for dipping (optional)
- This step is optional, but if your pith is thick, I like to do this. With the edge of a spoon, scrape off some of the white pith of the peel. Don’t remove all of it, but use your judgment.
- Cut peels into 1/2″ to 3/4″ strips
- In a bowl, place some ice and water. Set aside
- In a pan, boil some water. Drop all the orange peel strips into the boiling water and boil for 1-2 minutes.
- As soon as they are done boiling for a minute or two, put them directly into the bowl of ice water.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the honey and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Remove orange peel strips from ice bath, discarding the water. Add orange peels to honey syrup. Bring back to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Keep a close eye on it and stir it every so often (it can boil over, so adjust heat as needed to keep it from boiling over). Simmer orange peel strips in honey syrup until peels are translucent. 45-60 minutes.
- Strain orange peels from syrup, reserving syrup (I found placing a strainer over a bowl worked well).
- Place some maple sugar in a bowl. Coat each strip of orange peel in the maple sugar and place on a wire rack to dry.
- Keep reserved honey syrup in the refrigerator.
- Once peels are dry, you can dip them in melted chocolate and let dry, again.
- I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and melted them with a little palm shortening to make the chocolate the right consistency.