sour candied orange rinds

This December is shaping up to be, oddly enough, extremely under-scheduled and deliciously relaxed. The calendar is entirely open with no trips and hardly any events, just day after day of ordinary living: hanging out with kids, lots and lots of writing, good books and movies, and, of course, plenty of baking.

But not too much baking. So far just almond crescents, peppernuts, gingerbread, fig-and-anise pinwheels, and, my most recent sweet experiment, sour candy orange rinds.

At first I called the candy Adult Sour Patch Orange Rinds, but then my friend was like, Where’s the alcohol? so I had to drop the “adult” from the title, which was probably good because, as my husband pointed out, that title made it sound like candy porn … or something similarly misleading and disturbing. So I’m back to just Sour Candied Orange Rinds. I guess it gets the point across.

I discovered the recipe while flipping through a Bon Appetit magazine at my children’s allergy appointment. Sour gummy candy from fruit and citric acid? You could eat citric acid straight up and not die?? I was intrigued.

The method is straightforward enough: triple-boil the rinds to reduce bitterness and then simmer in a sugar syrup before rolling the rinds in sugar that’s been mixed with citric acid. Commenters to the recipe online said that they had trouble with the fruit staying too soft. Me, too. Quick remedy: run the rinds in the dehydrator overnight. Then, because some of the sugar had softened, I tossed them with the leftover sugar-citric acid mix and popped them into jars.

The candy makes for some serious lip puckering — think sour patch kids but with an edge — but no one has yet to let that stop them from gobbling it up! 

Sour Candied Orange Rinds
From the November 2017 issue of Bon Appetit.

They say that, in place of the oranges, you can also use six limes (or lemons) or three grapefruit.

Rinds of 4 navel oranges
3 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons citric acid

Score the oranges into fourths and peel carefully. Slice the rinds into long, thin slivers.

Boil four cups of water. Add the orange rinds and boil gently for five minutes. Drain. Repeat two more times, using fresh water each time.

Return the (thrice-boiled and drained) rinds into the kettle and add two cups of sugar and two cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes. Drain. Spread the rinds on a cooling rack for 15-30 minutes.

In a shallow bowl, mix the remaining cup of sugar with the citric acid. Working in batches, toss the rinds in the sugar to coat. Reserve any remaining sugar-citric acid mixture.

Dehydrate the rinds — either at room temp, or in an oven on the very lowest setting, or in a dehydrator — until no longer wet. Toss with the remaining sugar-citric acid mixture, if desired. Store in airtight glass jars.

Note: Immediately after dehydrating, my orange rinds were slightly hard, but after a day or two in the glass jars, they had softened a little, turning wonderfully chewy.

This same time, years previous: science lessons, the quotidian (12.14.15), the quotidian (12.15.14), constant vigilance!, sunrise, sunset, my elephant, crazier than usual, cracked wheat pancakes.


  • Lauralli

    My teenage son and I made these last night with grapefruit rinds. They are SO good! I think we're going to have to make more before the cousins get here on the 27th! 🙂 But, also, I couldn't just throw away that delicious smelling syrup after I'd boiled the rinds. So, I added 1/4 cup of corn syrup to it and boiled it to the hard crack stage. I added drops of citrus essential oil (though I debated using peppermint oil taking me back to my girl scout days of sucking the juice of an orange up through a peppermint stick–yum!). Now we also have citrus hard candy! That then lead to a rabbit hole on the internet of making our own sour hard candy. Next time we will be adding citric acid along with the essential oil to the candy! We're having fun with this! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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