Monday, 6 January 2014

Seasonal treats - Blood Oranges

from Wikipedia: Blood oranges may have originated in either China or the Southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are now the primary orange grown in Italy. The anthocyanins which give the orange its distinct maroon color will only develop when temperatures are low at night, as during the Mediterranean fall and winter. Within Europe, the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red Orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status

The blood orange season for Europe isn't a long one, and I like to make the most of it by making something extra with the part of the orange that usually ends up being discarded.... the Peel.

This process is a 2 day affair, so one has to be patient whilst waiting to enjoy this little treat.

DAY 1:

First up is of course consuming the delicious fleshy segments from a couple of blood oranges, then cutting the peel into slices.... the trick is to remove as much of the white pith as possible, as this just imparts bitterness & isn't really tasty. After this you bring the peel to the boil in water & let it simmer for 15 mins - this helps remove more of the bitterness from the peel.

Blood Orange Peel - pith removed

savour the aroma

Next up the peel gets simmered in a sugar solution: warm up approximately equal parts of water & sugar in a pan until the sugar has all dissolved, & then add the peel. Allow the mix to gently simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. By the end the peel should be nice & soft. 

the smell in the kitchen is great at this stage
In hindsight there are probably some interesting things to do with this leftover orange-infused syrup, but that will have to be considered next time.

softened peel

The drained off peel is them tumbled in sugar & then left to dry for at least 24hrs. 

candied peel taking shape

patience is a virtue.... 

we'll see you in 24hrs time

The effort-reward ratio is now firmly tipped in your favour at this point. Just a couple of minutes required to melt some chocolate over some warm water & then you are ready to dip your candied peel.

chocolate... that most versatile of ingedients
Some of the larger clumps of sugar on the peel can be knocked off before dipping, but be gentle that you don't snap you peel at this point.

Candied peel after 24hrs drying.
Here's the finished treat drying on a sheet of parchment paper.... not too shabby if I do say so myself.

To be carefully rationed out over the next week or so! 

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