Monday, December 20, 2004

Mass Ap-peel

When your parents send you a couple dozen oranges, what do you do with all of them?

I started Sunday morning with a bowl of cheese grits and a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. That took care of four small oranges. And since I know I'll have plenty of rinds to save and dry out for later baking, I decided to try something different with these orange rinds:

Candied orange peel.

It's not a terribly difficult process (though I admit my thumb is still sore under the nail from scraping out all the pulp and rind to get down to the bare peel). After scraping out the white stuff and cutting the peel into small strips, you simmer it in water (twice) before simmering it in a sugar syrup. Then roll the drained peels in sugar, let dry, and there you have it!

Happily, the fair Titania called from Philadelphia while the peels were simmering away in the sugar syrup, so I could draw upon her expertise in this matter and learned that when draining the peels at the end, I could also save the sugar syrup, now flavored with orange. One quick sample of the syrup proved the brilliancy of this suggestion, and I now have two cups of delicately colored and flavored syrup (which tasted fantastic on my pancakes this morning) to use in various concoctions. (Some may even go into a new liqueur I'm brewing...)

I also decided to try a slight variation... after rolling most of the peels in plain granulated sugar, I added cinnamon and gave the rest a cinnamon-sugar coating that is irresistible. (The only reason there's still a whole jar left is because diabetes runs in my family and I don't need to tempt fate, thank you very much.)

Thus I am inevitably led to the next likely use for some of my orange stash... and the cinnamon orange peels:

Pie in the Sky.

Stay tuned.


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