Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Recipe : Candied Orange Peel

This Christmas I sampled my friend Lily's homemade candied orange peel, and was so impressed, I asked her for her recipe, and have already made a batch of it myself. It is surprisingly easy, and has only 3 ingredients: orange peel, sugar and water.

The recipe is from the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Volume 2, and is loosely paraphrased here (since I didn't copy it down exactly).

The recipe called for 2 oranges and a grapefruit, but I used 3 oranges, and I presume any citrus fruit would work, to suit one's preference.

Remove the peel (I circled the orange with my knife and removed the peel in 4 quadrants), and slice it into narrow strips. I had no problem finding a use for the fruit - I had two volunteers more than happy to help with its safe disposal!

Add the strips of peel to a generous amount of water (I used my large wok frypan), bring it to a boil, and boil 5 minutes. Drain (dump out the water). Repeat this process two more times (for a total of 3 times), bringing the water to a boil for only 5 minutes each time.

Drain the orange peels on paper towels, pressing gently to remove any excess moisture. (I forgot this step, and mine came out fine, so I don't know if it adds much.)

Combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water (I combined it in the wok frypan while my peels were drying in the strainer - or on the paper towels), heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the orange peels and bring to a full boil for 10 minutes over low heat.

Turn off heat. Cover, and let stand overnight.

Cook over low heat until most of the liquid is gone (only a thick syrup coating the peels). Watch for scorching.

Lift individual peels from the syrup, roll them in granulated sugar, and place on a tray to cool. I found that a pair of wooden chop sticks worked well for lifting them out, onto the plate of sugar. My daughter used two forks to flip the peels in the sugar, and lift them out onto the next plate.

Roll in granulated sugar a second time, placing them to dry.

Apparently, if stored in a container with a loose lid, they will last for up to 2 or 3 weeks (not that they would actually last that long, especially if you have company!).


Final Caterpillar Transformation : Grey Moth

If you caught my previous posts about the 3 green-turned-grey/brown caterpillars which I found during garden cleanup in late October or early November (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly : Brown Caterpillar and Caterpillar Transformation), then this is the happy ending to the story.

By the beginning of December, each of the 3 caterpillars had transformed into a chrysalis, and I sent 2 of them to school, to my daughter's Grade 2 classroom, to share the experience with the whole class. By the last week of school before Christmas break, I was beginning to wonder if I'd need to bring them back home. But then it happened. Dec 21, I woke to see a grey moth sitting out beside my broken chrysalis. Mine had a gimpy wing (see photo right), for no obvious reason.

The next day, Dec 22, which was the last day of class before the holidays, the class arrived to 2 moths, and set them free in the school grounds. What good timing! Although I had hoped for butterflies, or something a bit more colourful, it was rewarding to get this small glimpse into the wonder which occurs all around us everyday, often unnoticed.
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