The recipe for Sage & Citrus Teacake (that I'm posting next) calls for Candied Lemon Peel and although you could always purchase candied lemon peel, making anything home-made will please you so much more! It is not a difficult procedure, or even a time-consuming one, at least in terms of hands-on time. I implore you to try this simple recipe as opposed to purchasing candied lemon peel. I just used the word "implore" and meant every letter of it! You will thank me all your days.
The original recipe suggested cutting ¼-inch strips of lemon peel from a lemon, then turning the strips over and removing as much pith as possible with a knife. I cut to the chase and used a vegetable peeler instead. Perhaps the edges of my strips aren't as straight as a result, but since I chop them to put them into the cake, it doesn't really matter to me. It's your choice, of course!
The recipe also suggests blanching the lemon peel before putting it into the syrup. What a genius idea! Blanching helps to soften the peel and takes some of the bitterness away as well. Blanching is simply putting the peel in water, simmering it for two minutes, then pouring the water off. Rinse and repeat twice! You do a series of three blanchings, pouring the water off each time and replacing it with fresh. I would suggest saving that water instead of letting it go down the drain. It's deliciously lemon flavored, full of antioxidants, and can be warmed and combined with a bit of honey, ginger, and whiskey to soothe sore throats and help the sickies sleep very well. ;) Just ask my mom … And the sweet Christian lady who gave me that recipe! (For the record, I have learned that all sweet Christian ladies use a bit of whiskey here and there … helps them maintain sweetness, apparently.)
After the blanching, it's time to put the peels in the syrup and let them simmer gently for about an hour, during which time you can do anything else that you want! Like read the next recipe posted here, or scrapbook, or fold clothes, paint your bedroom, or change the oil in your car. (Just be sure to wash your hands before you continue!)
After they are tender, remove them from the syrup with tongs, and let them dry on a rack for several hours, then if you want, coat them with sugar.
The beauty of this recipe is that you might not use all of it for the Sage & Citrus cake that you'll read about in the next post. (And after tasting what-you-think-will-be-super-bitter-but-isn't, you'll hope to have some left!) Your left-overs will keep for several days at room temperature or several weeks in the refrigerator and can be served alongside a cup of tea or used in other recipes, too. I purport that you'll be creating recipes for the sole purpose of using candied lemon peel! (Ooohh … and if you come up with one involving blueberries, let me know!)
The original recipe for the Candied Lemon Peel had about 14 steps and in my attempt to streamline my time, expenditure I was able to cut some of those steps out. If you want to do it EXACTLY like the original, follow the recipe here. If you want the same results with fewer steps, follow MY version here.