Mixed Peel is possibly one of those ingredients that you might uninspiringly add to a fruit cake or Christmas Pudding. That is until you know how to make mixed peel at home, which is such a delicious contrast to store-bought, you’ll be eating it right from the jar.
Each holiday season I stock up on boxes mixed peel as one of the usual inclusions in my Christmas bakes. It’s rare for me to cook with mixed peel beyond these recipes simply because I find it to be a completely uninspiring and often, bitter and tasteless ingredient. Until now! Earlier this year I started making my own mixed peel at home, really because I wanted to ensure my citrus rinds weren’t going to waste. I haven’t looked back and now mixed peel has become a staple in my pantry.
How to make Mixed Peel
I found the process of making mixed peel somewhat therapeutic. It’s very easy to make but it does take a week from start to finish. That might sound like a lot of work though it’s only a little bit of effort required on 4 days of the process. I guess that’s where the therapeutic element comes from – simple, repeated steps that you can do (almost) with your eyes closed.
Once you have a batch of mixed peel, you’ll be looking for ways to incorporate it into your bakes. Consider adding to hot cross buns, granola, biscuits/ cookies, cakes, breads – the list is only limited by your imagination. During the process of making mixed peel, you’ll also be rewarded with a rich fruit syrup. Definitely don’t discard the syrup! Use it swirled through icecream, as a topping for pancakes or french toast, as a base for a salad dressing or sauce. Again, the uses are only limited by your imagination.
Making home made mixed peel really takes your citrus to no-waste or low waste and makes the humble fruit fruitful, in every sense of the word.
Tips for making Mixed Peel
- Use good quality organic fruit to avoid ingesting harmful pesticides and chemicals,
- Unwaxed fruit is best, if you can find it. To remove wax from fruit, pop the fruit in a colander, pour over some boiling water and give it good scrub before you start.
- Remove as much or as little pith from the fruit. I removed as much as I could. Leaving more pith will give more substance to the peel.
- Fruit can be soaked at room temperature during the cooler months. In hot weather, soaking is best in the fridge.
- Allow the fruit and syrup to cool completely prior to covering during the soaking process.
- The final drying process can be completed in a low oven or a dehydrator.
- Ensure the fruit is completely dry prior to storing. I save food grade oxygen absorbers and keep one in my jar of peel due to fluctuating temperatures near my storage space.
- Mixed peel will keep for many months unopened in sterilised jars. Depending on your climate, you might wish to store in the fridge once opened. Mine do ok in the cupboard here in Melbourne, Australia.
How to make Mixed Peel
- Large Chopping Board
- Sharp knife
- Large Bowl
- Large Saucepan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Plate or re-useable wrap to cover bowl
- 4 Oranges
- 4 Lemons
- 1 Grapefruit
- 2300 ml Cold water
- 900 grams Caster Sugar total of 1350 grams of caster sugar
- 450 grams Caster Sugar
- If the fruit is waxed, prepare it by putting in a colander and pouring boiling water over. Give the skin a good scrub and pat dry.4 Oranges, 4 Lemons, 1 Grapefruit
- Cut the fruit into quarters and remove the skin from the fruit. Using a sharp knife remove the pith from the peel.
- Cut the peel into short strips lengthways and then widthways to obtain similarly sized pieces of peel. Weigh the peel, you should have around 450grams.
- Place peel in the saucepan with the water, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 1 hour.2300 ml Cold water
- Remove from the heat and drain over the large mixing bowl, reserving the water. Measure the water, you will need 5¾ cups. Top up with cold water if required. Return the water to the saucepan.
- Add 900 grams (4½ cups) of sugar to the water and bring to a gentle boil, simmering until the sugar has dissolved (approximately 10 minutes).900 grams Caster Sugar
- Add the peel to the large mixing bowl and pour over the sugar syrup. Allow to cool before covering and leaving to soak for 24 hours.
- Strain the syrup into a large saucepan (don't discard the peel!) and return saucepan to the heat. Add the remaining 450 grams (2¼ cups) of sugar and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer for a couple of minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved.450 grams Caster Sugar
- Pour the syrup back over the peel, allow to cool then cover and soak for a further 24 hours.
- Strain the syrup into a large saucepan (don't discard the peel!) and return saucepan to the heat. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Pour the syrup back over the peel, allow to cool then cover and soak for a further 4 days.
- Drain the peel (reserve the syrup – see notes) and place in the oven in the lowest setting for 1 – 3 hours until completely dry. Alternatively, place in a dehydrator at 35°C for 4 hours, or until completely dry. The peel can also be dried on the counter top in cool dry place until no longer tacky, although this method may take a day or so.
- Store mixed peel in sterilised jars.