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
Wash and scrub lemons.

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....


  1. This sounds lovely! I wonder how it would be with palm sugar (I keep wanting to stay away from white sugar).

    Erin, I keep hoping you'll post a bit (somewhere) about how you worked out this amazing trip you're on -- all the logistics of school, jobs, finances, a home, a garden, etc. Any chance you'll share anything about it with us?


  2. i love the sprinkles of freckles on the childrens noses.....lovely candied lemon pics.

  3. Hi Jenna and greenbeanfood! Thanks for stopping by.

    Jenna, not sure about palm sugar. I like to use less refined sugar when I can and I'd be curious to see how this recipe would work with other sugars. If you try it, please do share. I'd love to know.

    And you are so sweet to ask about trip logistics. Ah...such a long story. I never know if such details are interesting to anyone but us. I will try to share more details as the trip continues this Spring.

    Have a wonderful 2011!

  4. Oh the possibilities! I like the way Lilah thinks.

  5. Happy Birthday, Lilah! I think 7 is going to be a fantastic year.

  6. Erin, YES! At least to me, it's fascinating. I'd love to know what it takes to pull something off like what you're doing. I know I'd like to!

    I'll let you know about the lemons. I'll give it a try. :)

  7. Good job Lilah!!!
    I love candid lemon and orange peel, and it sounds like a great idea to make a gift out it.
    Lemon infused simple syrup would be really hard to part with ;)

    wishing you
    lots of happiness and fun travels in this new year.

    your friend

  8. Hi,
    I have been making these for years. Be sure to scrape out all the pith. I made them for my sons wedding. Lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime. I used Sugar in the Raw and it came out beautifully.

    They were so pretty in the dishes. So sparkley! They were gone in 20 minutes. They make lovely gifts and are fun to make. I am sure you can use tangerine or any citrus like that. I loved how some of them curled and twisted.

    PS. Can be addictive

  9. omg - yes! what's not to like about this? lol. can't wait to try these!

  10. Hi Erin, I happened upon your site by accident as I was looking for a palm sugar simple syrup and other palm recipes. I was diagnosed with Celiac when we lived in Belgium '07-'10 but when we got here to San Antonio, I had the biopsy and found out I did not actually have it. I'm sure you know that a biopsy is the only way to know for certain. I had lived a year and a half, completely gluten free so I became very knowledgeable on the subject. Now, my next door neighbour has Celiac, so I forward any recipes/sites to her (I'm also going to email her this one).

    I agree with Jenna, it would be very interesting to hear about your back story (travels, jobs, home etc). On the subject of the candies peels, my parents are Brits (I was born in NZ) and my Mum has always loved candies peels so I'm going to make and send her some (she lives in the States now). I buy mostly organic everything and I'm like you, I don't want to waste any of it. When I use organic lemons, I'll be sure to save the peels for this purpose. Here's a tip, if you don't have time to make the candied peel right away, you can freeze the peels until you're ready. I also do this with peeled bananas before they become too ripe, and use them in smoothies. No one here likes them when they become a little brown (only good for cakes/bread etc - my hub likes them a touch green and our daughter and I, like them perfectly yellow), otherwise, I'd end up throwing a lot away. When freezing, just make sure they get wrapped well and airtight or they don't seem to freeze nice enough to use.

    Anyway, even though I no longer require gluten-free, I am happy to have found your site and blog. Your photos are lovely and very magaziney!

    Debs Pouliot
    San Antonio, Texas (for now ;-)

    1. Deborah, Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I love to hear of others who save ( and savor) the scraps. I too stick ripe bananas in my freezer for smoothies:)

      And thanks for wanting to know more about my story... I am actually putting a book together and it will be filled with tons of recipes and a lot more about my back story and how and why I became gluten free.

      Are you back to eating gluten after a negative biopsy? I'm sure you know that.... after being gluten free for 1 and a half years, you could easily get a negative biopsy even if you have Celiac. Regardless, I hope you are feeling well and have a happy belly.

      San Antonio is a beautiful city. I miss all the great Mexican Food and BBQ!



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