Candied Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit Peels

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I made an apple pie this weekend, and used a slightly different method for prepping the filling. After dinner, I was sitting at the table with Darius and my dad, starting in on the pie. After the first bite, I said, “This tastes like mincemeat pie.” My dad said, “Yes! I thought that too.” We started talking a little bit about my grandmother, and how she made mincemeat pies at Christmas time. Neither one of us had ever made one, and we decided it was time to do so.

Do you know what’s in hard core, old school mincemeat pie?

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Hard won suet. I had to explain to 4 people at the butcher what I wanted, and what I wanted it for.

Yes, suet. And venison heart. And brandy.

So, we decided to also make a vegan version of this pie, which entails using candied fruit. I took a look at how much the grocery was charging for candied fruit, and how many preservatives were used, and decided to make my own, since no one here can tolerate nitrites or nitrates. That way I don’t even have to throw and citrus rinds away! Oh, it makes my frugal heart sing, it does.

There are two ingredients: citrus peels and sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.

I used a citrus peeler on these guys.

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Then used a spoon to remove as much pith (the bitter white stuff inside) from the peels.

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The lemon and lime was way more difficult in the pith removal department. The grapefruit was pretty easy, but the pithless grapefruit skin reminded me of a disturbing movie.

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“It puts the lotion on it’s skin…”

Moving right along…

Cut the peels into thin strips.

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Heat 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Dunk the strips in for about a minute, and then remove, pour into a colander, and rinse. Do this 2 or 3 times to remove much of the bitterness from the peels.

Heat 4 more cups of water to a boil, and add three cups of sugar. Whisk the sugar in until dissolved, and put the peels in. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover with a lid, and simmer for an hour, or until the peels are easy to cut or bite through.

Drain (saving the liquid if you want…it’s essentially a citrus syrup), and let rest for half an hour or so on some parchment paper.

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Drag through sugar, and let sit for a few hours. We’ll use most of these in the mince pies…if they last that long.

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