Candied Citrus Peels
In this group of recipes I am going to make 3 different items with the same ingredients, only adding a little extra sugar for the final sweet dish. The parts of the apples and lemons that are not used in the apple sauce will be used for the tea and the candied peels. It seems a little gimmicky but all three are delicious AND have a high nutritional value.
- 3 pounds whole apples (about 7 medium size), peeled. Reserve peels and core.
- 3 whole lemons
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar (Not all of this will end up in the dish)
- 5 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 4 whole cloves (or 1 teaspoon found cloves
- 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy (optional)
The cinnamon and the cloves are the spices I use for flavor in 2 of the three dishes. You could easily vary those to your specific taste (apple pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, etc).
Peel and core apples, then cut up the apple into cubes of equal size. Place the cubes in one pot and the cores and peels into another - and set aside.
Using a peeler, remover the yellow part of the lemon in strips, trying to limit the amount of pith (the white part under the peel) on each strip. Reserve those strips and set aside.
Add 1 cinnamon stick (cut in half), brown sugar, 1 cup of water, juice of 1/2 lemon, and the brandy (if using) into the pot with the cubes of apples. Place the pot on medium high heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I like to cook my apple sauce for a little longer to create a slightly darker end product as the sugar starts to caramelize. You can either leave whatever chunks are left in the apple sauce, or use a potato masher for a smoother end product.
East warm, or refrigerate.
Apple and Lemon Tea:
To the pot with the apple cores and peels, add 1 cinnamon stick (cut in half), juice of 2 1/2 lemons, whole cloves, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool and use a colander or a mesh strainer to remove all the solid pieces.
You can drink this warm or cold. I generally prefer to mix it with an iced tea in the summer, or hot tea in the colder months.
Candied Lemon Peels
This is another simple dish to satisfy those sweet cravings. Take the reserved strips of lemon peel and place them in a pan and just cover them with water. Bring the water to boil and hold for 2-3 minutes. Drain the water and repeat. This process removes any bitterness that might come from the pith left on the peels.
Once the the peels are drained for the second time, place them back in the pan with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 of water. Cook on medium heat until a nice thick syrup forms.
Use a plate or bowl and add half the remaining sugar. Add the lemon peels right from the pan, toss and coat each peel with sugar and place on cooling rack to dry. When they are dry and still a little flexible, place in a sealed container.