Whenever we get to a new town on our journey, I seek out the food shops first. Where can I get some organic veggies, farm eggs, free range meats, and local fish?
The groovy, health-food stores seem to always be the best place to start. We joke that the hippie markets are my “happy place.” I never know what I’ll find at these little independent shops, but usually I can get some good bulk grains, nuts, organic milk, eggs and butter. And when I am lucky, they will have a limited selection of organic produce.
When I do find vibrant organic produce, I like to use every precious scrap. Candying citrus peel is easy, tasty, and makes a nice gift for friends. Plus you end up with an incredible bi-product... lemony simple syrup!
Lilah turned 7 this month and she wanted to make these candied lemon bits to top her birthday cupcakes.
- 4-6 lemons (For candied citrus, try to use organic lemons. The peel holds much of the pesticide on conventional lemons.)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- approximately 1 more cup white sugar
Peel your lemons while trying to avoid as much white “pith” as possible.” (Of course you can peel the lemon skin into long strips, but if you are letting kids help, you may end up with “bits” instead.)
After removing the peels, blanch them in simmering water for about 3 minutes to remove the bitter oils.
Scrape as much remaining pith as possible from the blanched peels using the back of a spoon. Lilah helped with this part and we ended up with a little pith, and it wasn’t a huge problem.
Make a simple syrup. Combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir regularly until sugar has dissolved. Add peels to simple syrup. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. (Note that thicker skinned citrus like oranges may need 5 minutes to blanch and up to 20 minutes in the syrup).
Save the simple syrup which is now infused with lemon essence. Use some in cocktails, or homemade lemon soda. If you are willing to part with the syrup, bottle it and give it to a friend.
Lay out parchment paper and set out a low bowl with sugar. Take the strips/bits and dip them in the sugar, which will easily stick to the syrupy peels.
Let dry on parchment. Store in an airtight container.
You won't have trouble finding helpers for this recipe....