Wash and lightly scrub the outsides of the oranges. Pat dry. Cut off ends, then slice the peel from end to end, sectioning it into quarters. Use your fingers to gently peel off each section.
Cut peels into thin, equally sized strips and place in a medium-sized pot. Fill pot with water until peels are covered. Top with a lid and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for another 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and repeat the boiling process with fresh water two more times to eliminate bitterness. After the third time, drain water and leave peels in colander for a few minutes.
In the same (now empty) pot, whisk together 2 cups sugar and 1¾ cups water. Turn burner to medium-high and cook until temperature reaches 230 F (10 to 15 minutes). Add the orange peels and continue to simmer on medium-low for 40 to 60 minutes. Check on the peels every 10 minutes or so, swirling the pot occasionally to ensure peels are covered with syrup. (Don’t stir, as stirring may cause crystallization.) When peels become translucent, remove pot from heat.
Pour the remaining cup of sugar into a shallow bowl. To give the candied peels a sour-candy kick, mix up to 1½ tablespoons citric acid into the sugar. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove a few of the peels at a time from the pot, letting excess syrup drip off for a few seconds. Toss peels in the sugar to coat, separating any pieces that stick together. Spread candied peels out on wire racks above cookie sheets. Continue process with the rest of the peels. When done coating, pour the remaining sugar into the pot with the leftover syrup, add a touch more water, and heat until sugar has dissolved. (Keep in mind that if you made them sour, you’ll have sour syrup!) Pour syrup into an airtight container and store in fridge for 2 to 3 weeks to use as an orange-infused simple syrup. Let peels continue to dry for 12 to 24 hours, until they are no longer sticky to the touch. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Per serving: 21 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium, 57 grams total carbohydrates, 1.5 grams fiber, 0.5 gram protein.
Note: Citric acid is a powder used for many things, including making sour candy. Find it in the canning supplies section.
This recipe is a great way to use orange peels before making orange juice, or, if you love eating oranges regularly, peel them in batches and store the fruit wedges to snack on later. This same recipe can be used to candy peels of 3 grapefruits or 6 lemons/limes. Grapefruit should simmer longer than the other fruits. Eat candied peels as is or use them on/in muffins, breads, cakes, and cocktails. A byproduct of making candied peels is a citrus-infused simple syrup to flavor beverages or drizzle over ice cream, pancakes, or snow cones.