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Citrus peels

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Feather View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 October 2012
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    Posted: 09 December 2012 at 12:22
We started working on our citrus peels. (pictures to come later)

The end result will be
1. candied fruit for fruit cake,
2. dried citrus peels for something like Floridian Seasoned Pepper mentioned by Melissa Mead in the potato thread here: http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/mashed-potato-secrets_topic2919_post19325.html?KW=florida#19325
and so as not to waste the fruit, we are eating the oranges, and making
3. Sima (type of mead) (though with lemon and lime, honey too) found here: http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/sima-traditional-lemon-mead-from-finland_topic171_post19122.html?KW=mead#19122

Starting with 5 lemons, 6 oranges, and 7 limes we began peeling, between DH and I, it took almost 2 hours and we really worked at it.

Peeling: the objective is to get the rind (peel) off with the least or little pith (white membrane).
It worked best to use a very thin (width wise) knife that was very sharp.
We worked from end to end, in a spiral fashion around the fruit to the end.

As you peel very very thinly, you will notice the oils coming out of the fruit a little, to me, this is important to preserve.

If you peel too thickly and cannot see the pores of the fruit on the backside of the peel, then you have too much pith. DH and I had a pithing contest to see who could peel the most thinly.LOL
With too much pith you can do one of two things....
1. boil the peels to make it less bitter
2. scrape the pith off with the sharp edge of the knife after peeling

For me--I want to see the pores of the fruit showing through on the back of the peel.
I don't want to boil them because the oils will be boiled off in addition to the bitterness.

I was working over a bowl sitting on the couch, peeling fruit and would once in a while go into the kitchen to see how DH was doing with our little science experiment, err, I mean, cooking. LOL
He had started to peel the limes. Each type of fruit is VERY different in terms of the thickness of the peels, the thickness of the pith. The limes are thin peels, very thin pith, lemons are thin peels and a little more pith, the oranges had thicker peels and thicker pith. I was standing there, watching his technique, and he said I was in his light, his 'lime light', and I was irritating him to stand there and I needed to move. 'Lime light', oh that was a good one. LOL

When we finished and had become very proficient at peeling just the rind, we saved the rinds in three bowls, later cooked in three pots--so the aromas and colors don't bleed into each other. It was a very aromatic, wonderful smell, all those citrus peels.

DH took the pith off all of the fruits, the oranges to eat, the lemons and limes to use in Sima. I don't think it is actually necessary to try to take the pith off the limes, but, I think DH saw it as a challenge for perfection to do it.

Then I chopped the peels into small pieces for candied fruit, and then finely chopped a little of each for the floridian seasoned pepper--so it could begin to dry.

Drying the peels:
These could be put in a dehydrator and dried, but, since they are cut so small they appear to be air drying just fine.

Candying the fruit peels:

I separated each fruit type peel into a different pan, so the natural colors would not bleed into each other.

1/2 cup whiskey, sugar, and water combined (that I was using to macerate some peaches and dried cranberries for another type of fruited bread)
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar

They are cooking on very low, I don't want them to turn to hard candy (too high of heat with no water content), but to replace the water in the fruit peel with sugar. As they are cooking, they begin to turn translucent. It may take a few hours to get them 'candied'.

I'm adding to this post, to keep it fresh, it took a good four hours on a low simmer, each. I let them soak in the sugar/honey mixture overnight and then drained them.  They are good this way.

As an additional step you can dehydrate them from there--I'm not sure it's necessary at all. I suppose if you wanted to coat them in granulated sugar and dehydrate, to use as candy, you can do this.
I will be using them in the stollen and fruitcake and I need them to be a little wet.

After the citrus peels, I candied some peaches and cranberries, then some pineapple. I used the same process and they turned into a beautiful translucent look.

Citrus peels yield: 2 cups

More to follow (and pictures too). Are you having fun? I am. ~Feather

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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Joined: 03 February 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 December 2012 at 12:45
Feather, Splendid feature and very enjoyable read. Look forward to the photos and Part two. TU For Posting. Mare.
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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