Friday, January 17, 2014

Making Candied Lemon & Orange Peel

Tea samples spread out on our cookbook -
On Thursday I spent a pleasant winter's afternoon making candied lemon and orange peel with friends.  At our last baking session, it was decided that our next project would be to learn how to make hot cross buns during Lent.  In preparation for that, my friend Terry proposed getting together at her cottage in January to make the candied lemon and orange peel needed for the buns.  The process is easy, if a bit tedious, but with three friends chatting all the while the time certainly went fast!

Making Lemon & Orange Peel

Orange & lemon peel after boiling, before draining
One batch of hot cross buns calls for 1 oz. of peel.  We each provided 3 oranges and 3 lemons and have more than enough peel for several batches of buns.  Wash your fruit in warm, soapy water; rinse well and dry.  Using a vegetable peeler, simply make long strips down the sides of the fruit, working your way around.  You want to press hard enough to get the fruit to come off in strips but not too hard or you will get the white pith just beneath the surface which tends to be bitter.  Cut all the peel into tiny squares and set aside.  For a few ounces of peel, place 1/2 C. sugar in a saucepan with 1 C. water over medium heat.  Gently cut your wooden spoon through the water from side to side, being careful not to slosh it.  You want the sugar to dissolve without crystallizing.  After the sugar is dissolved, pour in the fruit pieces and turn up to high.  Boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.  Drain off the syrup (you could save it to pour over a fresh fruit salad).  Allow the peel to cool and store in frig if using shortly OR place in a small container in the freezer (which is what we did since we won't be using it to make hot cross buns until March).
Terry's little indoor garden -

After making the peel, we sat down to tea with fresh-from-the-oven cranberry scones and Harney's Christmas tea.  Through the remaining afternoon, we talked about crochet patterns; the differences in birds of America and birds of England (Terry's husband is British so he pulled his British bird book off the shelf to answer our questions); ways to celebrate the church calendar; what God is teaching us in relation to our children; and interesting places to visit. 

Besides leaving with a sweet little hyacinth and handful of Harney's sample packages of tea, I left with what I always get from Rose Cottage - inspiration, knowledge and blessings from rich friendships.

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