Mixed peel is another ingredient in a lot of my family’s traditional recipes that is hard to find in the US. I make a batch of fresh mixed peels for the holiday season and gift a bit to friends who bake with them. The jar above went to my Scottish friend when we made mince pies.
1 lime (optional)
1325 grams sugar
DAY ONE: Cut your fruit in half and juice it. (Save the juice. I will tell you what to do with it later.) Then slice the peel into segments and carefully remove about half the pith with a sharp knife or a peeler. Cut this into small strips or squares. You want them to be about 1/4 inch thick.
Now you are going to boil enough water to cover the citrus in a 2.5 qt saucepan. Dump the peel into the boiling water and let it blanch for about five minutes. Strain this and discard this liquid. It’s just an extra step to ensure that you are cleaning off any waxes that might be on the peel, and it cuts a little bit off the bitterness.
Fill that same saucepan two-thirds with cold water and add all the chopped peel. Bring this to a low simmer and simmer for an hour. Strain this liquid off but KEEP it. It should be a beautiful orange color like the picture below. Measure 1100 mL of the cooking liquid back into the saucepan and add 900 grams of sugar. Stir the sugar in and cook until it is dissolved. Dump the peel back in and let it set for 24 hours.
Use the leftover cooking liquid to make a simple syrup and then make yourself a homemade sour mix with this juice. Remember, you don’t have to cook the syrup and the juice together to make a cordial. I think that when you can avoid cooking citrus juice, you should. Just make simple syrup and mix it with the juice. Think of it as preserving the juice with simple syrup. I store this in the refrigerator, and I don’t really know how long it will last. We usually go through it quickly around here. The boys mix it with sparkling water to make fizzy orange soda.
DAY TWO: Now we are back to the peels that have macerated for 24 hours. Strain them again, reserving the liquid. I measure about 1000 mL into the same saucepan and add 425 grams more sugar. Once again cook this liquid over low heat stirring until the sugar dissolves and then dump the fruit back in. Let it sit for another 24 hours.
DAY THREE: At this point. I strain the peel, place it on my dehydrator fruit leather trays and dust it lightly with finely ground sugar. I have to grind it because we can’t buy caster sugar in the US. I don’t run the dehydrator. I only put it on the trays and place it in the dehydrator so I can cover the peel while it dries. I hate dust.
You could run it on low, but I rarely do unless I am truly in a hurry. You lose some aromatics that way. After 3-7 days, the peels will be dry enough to scoop up and put in an airtight jar like the picture at the top of the page.