Over the past few days I’ve made batches of both lemon and orange, and learned a few things along the way.
I seem to have had the best results:
a) using a very sharp paring knife to cut the zest away from the whole fruit in strips
b) using that same knife to trim the pith away from the raw zest (holding the zest down on the work surface, holding the knife blade basically parallel to the surface of the table and slicing the pith away). (managed to cut myself only once, and that on the very, very last piece, LOL!)
c) julienning the raw zest, and simmering it 15 minutes, rinsing it and cooking it in simple syrup 15 minutes (a la RLB’s method in The Cake Bible).
I tried some other methods, but this seems to have worked best for me.
My first batch was orange zest, and as some have suggested, I tried that first, I simmered the peel, then trimmed away the pith, then simmered it in syrup. Made the house smell GREAT, but I do think this batch turned out more bitter than the next.
My second was lemon, didn’t seem to make the house smell of anything at all, but the flavor of the end result was less bitter.
I do think the lemons were, overall, of a better quality than the oranges, so I’m intrigued to try the orange peel again, with better quality fruit.
I’m definitely inspired, and will continue experimenting with some of the other ideas here over time, as I need more candied peel.
Thanks again for all the advice and techniques, I do appreciate it.