So the Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza is over, but what to do with miscellaneous left overs? This year Mike and I "stuffed" our turkeys with quartered lemons & oranges and sprigs of rosemary & thyme. We had two unused lemons left over, so instead of using them for garnish in my water, I decided to make candied lemon peel. The smell of this tangy fruit brings back memories of our summer vacation in Italy.
A little background in the Italian lemon: Arab travelers brought the lemon to the southern coast of Italy in the 1st century B.C. Lemons are a symbol of love and fidelity, and are every present and beloved in Southern Italy. In Sorrento and the Amalfi coast towns, lemon trees grace the rocky hills and thrive in the salty sea air and volcanic soil. During a food tour of Amalfi, booked though Cooking-Vacations.com, we learned that there are two types of lemons in Italy: Femminello Ovale Sorrentino and the Sfusato. These lemons are of such high quality, that in 2001 they received IGP(Indicazione Geografica Protetta) which certifies the lemons are grown under specific standards and geographic territory.* Unfortunately these varieties of lemons are not available in the US, so when traveling there get your fill! Also be sure to visit Pansa Cafe in Amalfi and try their candied lemon peel (scorza di limone) dipped in dark chocolate. The lemons used in Pansa's kitchen comes from their own grove!
*Information referenced from Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli owner of Cooking-Vacations Italy and contributor of Taste of Italia magazine.
Ok, back to St Louis and making candied lemon peel. It's real easy and tasty. You can eat it on it's own or use for garnish on a lemon cheesecake, cupcakes, or whatever your heart desires :)
Candied Lemon Peel
- trim off lemon peel from two lemons, leaving white pith on the lemon
- jullienne lemon peels
- in a sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup granulated sugar
- bring sugar water to a boil, add peels. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer with lid off for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally, watch for peels to become translucent, not browned.
- Remove with slotted spoon or fork, place on waxed paper to cool.
- Optional: can roll or sprinkle with additional sugar.
- Store in pantry in air-tight container for 1 week or freezer for 6 months.