I really love lemon and I use a LOT of them. However I hate to waste anything, so before I juice a lemon, I zest it first and save the peel. I dry finely shredded peel for dried peel, but I also like to save larger pieces of peel to make into candied peel. Candied lemon peel makes a wonderful decoration on cakes, is delicious chopped and added to cookies and biscotti, and makes a wonderful candy on its own. A side benefit of making candied lemon peel is that there is always lemon syrup left over which I also save. I like to use the lemon syrup to make lemon aide, sweeten tea or as the sweetener in berry-based sorbet.
Boiling the peels, then draining the water may seem like a step you might want to skip, but don’t. Pre-boiling the peels eliminates any bitterness in the peels. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of lemon flavor in your candied lemon. 🙂
Edit 3-27-12: In the above pic I have candied lemon peel and whipped coconut topping dressing up lemon poppy seed waffles. Yum!
Easy Candied Lemon Peel and Lemon Syrup
2 cups water
Zest from 4 lemons, larger pieces with no white pith
2 cups sugar plus more for rolling finished peels
Put water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lemon peels and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the water. Set lemon peels aside. Add 2 more cups of water to the pan, bring to a boil, add lemon peels and boil for 5 minutes. Drain water. Add 2 cups of water to the pan, add lemon peels and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and cook peels until sugar is dissolved and peels are translucent.
Put lemon peel on a cooling rack, spreading out so they don’t stick. Allow peels to dry for 2 hours, then roll in sugar so peels don’t stick together. Put peels back on cooling rack and allow to dry overnight. Store in an air tight container.
Strain lemon syrup through a fine messed sieve, allow to cool. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.