Candying your own fruit peel is fun and results in a far superior product to the small plastic cartons available in most grocery stores. The citrus flavor is much more intense and recognizable as the fruit it comes from. You can also candy in bulk because properly candied fruit peel will last for months in the fridge.
To start, buy good looking oranges, limes, lemons, or whatever citrus you enjoy the most. Choose fruits with no bruises and beautiful flesh. Wash them well to remove wax and pesticide residue, as you will be using only the most external part. Pat dry and you’re ready to start.
Grab a knife, a cutting board, and if you have it, a citrus peeler. This makes things easier as it scores only the peel, leaving the fruit uncut. You can do this with a knife, but you’ll have to be careful not to go too deep, or the fruit will pull apart when it comes time to remove the peel. Use the citrus peeler or knife to cut the peel into quarters, like the poles of a globe.
Peel off the quarters, slice each quarter lengthwise into quarters so you’re left with 16 long thin slices. Now comes the tricky part. You need to cut as much of the white pith off the inside of the peel as you can. I find it helps to lay the fruit peel side down, pith side up, and using a sharp knife, slowly sliver off the pith. You can leave it on if you must, but you’ll get a more bitter, less citrus flavored end result if you do.
Once all pith is removed, make a pot of 4 1/4 cups/10 dl sugar, and 2 1/2 cups/6 dl water (you can fit around two medium oranges, two small lemons, and two small limes into this amount if liquid). Bring it to a boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar in the water, leave the pot uncovered for the duration of this cooking procedure.
Add all your chopped citrus peel to this sugar syrup. You’ll need to boil it for about two hours, uncovered, without stirring, till the water is reduced to about a quarter its original volume. The reason you don’t stir is to prevent the formation of sugar crystals, and the reason for why you need to leave it uncovered is to let the water evaporate.
Remove the liquid from the heat and allow it to cool down. Once cool enough to handle, heat your oven to 195° Fahrenheit/90° Celsius. Line a baking tray with wax or parchment paper. Pour the citrus peel and syrup mixture through a colander and drain well. You can spread the citrus peel on the paper as is, or roll it in sugar crystals beforehand for a sweeter taste and more candy-like presentation (it’s best if you are not using them for cooking, but presenting them as actual candy or dipping them in chocolate). Bake for around an hour, but check often to make sure they are not burning.
After taking them out, spread them onto a wire rack to cool down completely. Once the peels have cooled down, chop them up with a sharp knife to the size you prefer. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or in a freezer for next to eternity.