3 large oranges
2 large lemons
2 c white sugar
2 c water
3 whole star anise
1 c sugar for dusting
Unlike most recipes that require zest, you leave the white pith attached to the outer peel. And if you can, getting your hands on organic fruit is all the better. If not, give it a good old scrub before starting the process.
So! Peel the fruit leaving the pith attached but scrape off any flesh.
Slice the peelings into ¼ inch thick slices. I like to leave them long because they look pretty!
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop the peels in, bring back up to the boil and boil for 2 minutes. Strain the peels and rinse in hot water, discarding the boiling water. Now repeat this process 3 or 4 times until there is no hint of bitterness left in the zest.
Bring sugar, water and star anise to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the citrus peel and turn to low. Simmer for 30 - 45 minutes until the zest is translucent and the sugar and water has reduced to lovely thick syrup. Keep an eye on this process. I didn’t the first time I made it and I ended up with a very burnt potful of charred zest! Life is in the learning huh!
Using a slotted spoon, remove the peels from the pot and drain on a rack for 5 minutes.
Save the syrup! Delicious spiced citrus sugar syrup ready for your next cocktail!
Pop the cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the peelings evenly. You don’t need to be over-careful here. Just dump a handful of those sticky peels into the sugar, then rub between your fingers. You’ll find they will separate on their own.
Leave the sugared peels on a rack to dry out then store in an airtight container or in the freezer.
You’ll never buy another packet of candied citrus in your life!