Candied orange slices or any citrus for that matter is an easy treat to make. These make elegant garnishes for desserts and drinks and lovely additions to cakes, cookies, and bread. It takes only 3 ingredients to make it and tastes much better than the store-bought ones. Vegan
Candied orange slices are a treat and a great way to use up extra oranges in season. It just takes just 3 ingredients to make – oranges, sugar, and water. These homemade treats taste much better than the store-bought ones as there is no corn syrup or fillers or preservatives added. As an added benefit the kitchen is filled with a refreshing citrus fragrance.
What Types of Oranges to Use
Any kind of citrus can be used to make this – oranges, mandarins, lime, or lemon. Though I would recommend staying away from the larger varieties with thicker pith like pomelos or large grapefruit. I am not saying that these can’t be made into candied slices, but larger slices need more careful handling and are best suited to make candied peel.
Also in my experience grapefruit is that it has more of a bitter taste after cooking. It is not necessarily a bad thing and some would even like it, but knowing what to expect helps with getting the results you are looking for.
Preparing the Citrus
Regardless of the type of citrus, it is important to choose organic fruit. Citrus is often treated with chemicals to prevent spoilage. Even Organic ones may be coated with food-grade wax. Though it is food grade, it is not the flavor enhancer that we need. So wash well and scrub with a kitchen towel to remove as much of it as possible.
Using a veggie wash or washing in fairly hot water followed by vigorous scrubbing will remove most if not all of the wax from the conventionally grown and packaged fruit. Do this if you can’t find any organic varieties.
How to Take Away the Bitterness
I mentioned above that grapefruit turns bitter after cooking. It is not just grapefruit but many other citruses that exhibit this behavior. To get rid of this bitterness naturally pre-boil the citrus slices and drain the water. If the citrus is boiled in water for about 10 minutes, you can gauge the bitterness by tasting the liquid.
If the water is not bitter then chances are the end product will not be bitter. In this case, you can use the same liquid to finish cooking. But take this advice with a grain of salt as citrus varieties vary. So for the best results discard the liquid and start with a fresh batch.
For especially bitter varieties boil the citrus for 5 minutes, drain the water and repeat the process.
How to Make Candied Orange Slices
Making these is an easy process. Slice the citrus into about ¼ inch thick pieces. You can make them thinner, but thinner slices do not hold their shape as well while cooking.
In a saucepan heat water. Add the orange slices. Make sure that there is enough water to cover the orange slices. Bring to boil and let it boil for 10 minutes. Remove the slices from water and place them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.
Add equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Again make sure that there is enough liquid to immerse the slices. Add the orange slices and bring them back to boil. Reduce the heat and let it boil gently for 20 to 30 minutes.
20 to 25 minutes is usually enough to cook 1/4 inch thick slices. When cooked through the slices will look translucent. For thicker slices increase cooking time.
Turn off the heat and remove the slices from the syrup and arrange them on a cooling rack. Let it cool for 24 hours before using or storing it. By this time the oranges will look shiny and will have a shiny glaze on them.
How to Make Candied Orange Not sticky
The glaze on the oranges is a little sticky. This is fine in some recipes, but not so if you are going to use it as a candy treat. Coat the slices with some sugar about halfway into the drying time. The sugar will stick to the syrup.
What To Do With Leftover Syrup
Once you are done cooking there will be leftover syrup in the pan. It is essentially an orange-flavored syrup and can be used as a sweetener in smoothies, shakes etc or as a glaze for cake or other baked goods.
My personal favorite is using it to flavor black tea.
Candied Citrus Slices
- Heavy Bottomed pan
- Cooling rack
- 4 Medium Oranges Notes
- 4 C water
- 4 C Sugar
- Extra water
- ½ C Sugar for coating
- Was the citrus well and scrub them dry. Slice into ¼ inch thick rounds.
- Place the orange slices in a pan with enough water to cover the slices. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the slices from the water and place in a ice water bath to stop cooking. Discard the cooking water.
- Take 4 C water and 4 C sugar in sauce pan heat. Bring it to a boil stirring in between until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slices.
- Once the syrup is boiling again, reduce the heat to keep it on low boil. Keep it boiling for 20 to 25 minutes stirring once or twice. By this time the slices should look translucent. If not cook longer until it becomes translucent. (Notes)
- Turn off the heat. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a cooling rack on it. Remove the slices from the syrup and place on a cooling rack. Let it dry on the cooling rack for 24 hours before using.
- Once the slices have cooled for a couple of hours roll them in sugar if desired.
- Store the granulated sugar-coated slices in airtight containers at room temperature for about a month. The slices can be frozen or refrigerated for longer storage. (Refer to the post for more details)
- Any kind of citrus can be used in this recipe. The sugar syrup made is enough to cook 4 medium sized oranges.
- 20 – 25 minutes cooking time is enough for slices that are 1/4 inch thick. If making thicker slices increase the cooling time to 40 minutes or more.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
How and Where to Use Candied Citrus Slices
- Candies citrus pairs well with anything chocolatey – chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, Chocolate mousse, etc. . These slices dipped in melted chocolate is a real treat.
- Decorating cakes: I have removed the peel and used the slices to decorate my Goji Berry and Orange Cake here.
- Breads: I use the rind in hot cross buns and many other fruit-filled loaves.
- Flavor cakes: Use them in pound cakes to add a citrus flavor
- As always food storage depends a lot on quality. Keep everything clean and contaminant-free.
- When rolled in granulated sugar these stay fresh at room temperature for up to a week.
- Store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 months.
- For freezing keep a piece of parchment between slices to prevent them from sticking to each other and store it in a freezer-safe bag.
Cut the oranges into wedges no thicker than 1 inch and follow the same recipe. Increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.
Use only the rinds. This reduces the cooking time and there is no need for the bitterness removal step if the rinds are clean of pith (the white spongy portion).