I felt very virtuous doing this, because after squeezing my oranges for juice, I used the empty shells to make these little candied nibbles. The recipe I used suggested removing the peel in quarters, then using the oranges for something else, but I needed the juice so I did the opposite. After squeezing, I cut each half-shell in half again, and then used a small sharp knife to remove the remaining pulp/membrane, a bit like skinning fish; once you get the tip of the knife under the membrane, you can grip one end of the peel firmly, skin-side against the cutting board, and push the rest off with the knife quite easily.
Once made, these can be kept in an airtight tin. An elegant garnish for citrus or chocolate desserts; and for after-dinner treats you can dip them in melted chocolate and serve with coffee.
Having said all that, while not difficult it is time-consuming, and you can’t go very far away while they are cooking.
peel of 6 small or 4 large oranges, as described above
350 g sugar
1 tsp salt
extra sugar for dusting
Cut the peel into slices about 5 mm across, and put in a non-reactive pan. Cover with cold water, add salt, bring to the boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Throw away the water, add fresh, and boil again for 20 minutes. Drain again, cover with fresh water and give it another 20 minutes boiling before draining once more.
Return the peel to the pan with the sugar and 150 ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer until all the syrup has evaporated or been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Once the syrup is almost gone you need to give it constant attention/stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn.
When there is no syrup left, lift the peel out with a slotted spoon and spread out on baking parchment or waxed paper. Have ready a clean sheet of paper, or a non-stick baking sheet.
When the peel is cool enough to handle (a few minutes), put some sugar in a wide bowl, add a few pieces of peel at a time, and shake to coat with sugar. As they are done, spread out on the clean paper/baking sheet. Leave to dry thoroughly before storing.