Candied Fruit...Waste Now, Want Alway

s


Waste not, want not…how many times have we heard this expression.

Yet if you’re like me and subscripe to a fruit delivery box service such as Imperfect Foods, belong to a local food co-op, and buy fruits and veggies but find yourself not eating them before they go bad…you might consider candying them in order not to have to throw them out.

Candied fruit is delicious in fruitcake, pancakes, cakes and cookies…great for garnishes…indulgent when dipped in chocolate…or can simply be eaten on its own.

And candying fruit actually does not take as much effort as you might think that it would…

Candying fruit involves blanching your fruit in warm water to tenderize it and then simmering it in simple syrup for a while.

Fruits that you might consider candying include grapefruits, dates, ginger, kumquats, oranges, lemons, cherries, figs, berries, pears, bananas, strawberries, and pineapple. You might also consider candying vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

Fruit that you candy yourself will…or at least should be…naturally delicious, chewy, and plump treats…not the overprocessed, rubbery, artificially-colored and artificially-flavored.

After all, isn’t that the underlying goal of most diet plans these days in the first place?!





***********************
Prepping the Fruit
*******************

Choosing the fruit…As with anything else that you might cook or eat, the best results will depend on the ingredients that you use. Organic fruit will be free of pesticides and give you the best results. Also make sure your fruit is fresh and ripe, not over-ripened and old.

Before you start prepping the fruit you need to wash your fruit thoroughly.

Apples and kiwi…Cut into 1/4″ slices.

Grapefruit…Cut into small strips for faster, more even cooking.

Melons…Cut into bite-sized chunks.

Oranges and Lemons…Orange peels are great for candying as is, chopping and adding to a recipe, or dipping in chocolate and then giving for gifts. First remove the top and bottom from the orange. Then set the flat end of the orange on a cutting board. Next slice off the peel, using a sharp paring knife or potato peeler…following the curve of the orange as best you can and avoiding cutting into the flesh. You don’t have to bother removing the white pith of the oranges because any bitterness found in this pith will become translucent and sweet during the blanching step of the candying process. Finally cut into 1⁄4“–1⁄”2 chunks or slices.

Pineapple, apricots and watermelon…Cut the rind into small pieces.

Small fruits, such as cherries or strawberries…Candy these whole.

Tropical fruits, such as pineapples, papaya and kiwi….These can be candied in slices, chunks, or even whole….depending on what you will be using them for.



********************

Blanching the Fruit

*******************

The first “real” step in the candying process is to blanch the fruit.

You do this by placing the cut fruit into a large saucepan filled about halfway with cool, fresh water…making sure that all of the fruit is completely submerged and then bringing it to a rolling boil and then letting it boil for about twenty minutes.

You may need to repeat this blanching process several times, depending on which fruit you are cooking.

Once the fruit is tender when you bite into it—yet not too mushy or soggy— remove the pan from the eye and pour the fruit into a colander to drain.

Cherries and pineapples typically are tender after only one round of blanching… oranges and lemons typically require three…grapefruits, six to eight.

Now allow your fruit to dry completely before putting them in the sugar-syrup.





**********************

Making Simple Syrup

**********************
Combine sugar and water in a large, heavy saucepan or stockpot. The ratio of sugar-to-water ratio should be 3:1…three parts water to one part sugar…3C water for every 1C sugar. Mix the sugar and water together thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil over medium heat for two or three minutes, stirring constantly. The syrup is ready when it reaches 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This temp is called the “thread stage”…and will end up in your making candy, not syrup.






**********************

Simmering the Fruit

**************************

Once you have made the simple syrup and blanched the fruit, you’re ready to mix your fruit into your simple syrup.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Be sure to stir the fruit into the syrup so that all sides are completely covered.

Simmer the fruit for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally…until it appears translucent but not falling apart, has a tender texture, tastes delicious and you can easily bite through it.

The amount of time you will need to let the fruit simmer depends on which fruit you are candying and how large or small your fruit pieces are. Keep taste-testing until you are content with how it appears and tastes. This could take anywhere from fifteen to fifty minutes…(I know…I hate recipes that are vague too)…



********************

Drying Your Fruit

*********************

Once the fruit has finished simmering it, you need to let it dry.

First line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set a wire rack on top. Then remove the pan on heated fruit from the stove and scoop out your fruit with a slotted spoon and spread out the pieces until they are flat on the cookie sheet, using a wooden spoon.

Allow the fruit to cool and dry completely.

After the fruit has completely cooled and dried, you may want to sprinkle sugar on top of your fruit. This will add additional sweetness and texture…as well as create a more attractive sugar-coated appearance.

Even so, you may want to skip adding this additional sugar if you are planning on baking with the candied fruit.







******************************

Storing

***************************

Candied fruit tastes the freshest right after making it, but you can store candied fruit in the fridge for up to three weeks in its sugar syrup in an airtight container or jar.

Before using the fruit, scoop it out of the syrup and let it sit for a few hours so that any extra syrup will drip off, making it much easier to use your fruit.

You could freeze the candied fruit, but this is not usually necessary because the candied fruit will stay good for as long as two years if kept in a cool dry place. Just know that the sweetener sometimes crystallizes in the freezer. Before using candied fruit that has been frozen, put the defrosted fruit in warm Karo syrup.







************************************

Using Your Candied Fruit

************************************

Both the candied fruit and the sugared syrup are great for cooking with. Your candied fruit can be used to make pies, biscotti, fruitcake. The syrup is great for sweetening drinks and pouring over ice cream or using as a glaze on a bundt cake….( more on this coming up)…

https://muffinsandmozart.com/2021/04/23/candied-fruit-waste-now-want-always/