One of the most consistently popular posts on WhyGo Italy is the one about the limoncello recipe I use. In it, I mentioned that I didn’t know what to do with the leftover lemon peels once the oils had been extracted into the alcohol. Since then, I’ve gotten several suggestions from people about what to do with the leftover peels – the most popular being candied lemon peels. But since most of those recipes assume you’re using fresh lemon peels, I was never sure they’d turn out as well with lemon peels that had been essentially turned into lemon peel crisps by spending a week in grain alcohol.
Not long ago, however, I got an email with a recipe for candied lemon peels that is meant for peels leftover after limoncello. I asked the sender if I could post her recipe here, and she said yes. So, thanks to Lily Thang for this recipe!
In her email, Lily told me that she’s got several friends with “prolific lemon trees,” so she’s got an arsenal of lemon-based recipes that she makes often – including limoncello. But she wasn’t content to throw away the peels after the limoncello process, so she started making candied lemon peels with them. The key to this recipe seems to be getting moisture back into the peels before you candy them, which makes sense. I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try the next time I make a batch of limoncello.
Lily’s Leftover Limoncello Candied Lemon Peels
- Leftover lemon peels from making limoncello
- Water for boiling lemon peels
- 1 c. water
- 1 1/3 c. ultrafine white sugar (baking sugar)
- Put a small pot of water on the stove to boil, and when it’s boiling add your leftover limoncello peels to the pan. Boil the peels for 1-2 minutes.
- Drain the water from the pot, re-fill it with water, and bring it to a boil again. Put the lemon peels back in the boiling water and let them boil for another minute. Drain the water again, and you’re now ready to candy the peels.
- In a small pot, put 1 c. water and 1 c. baking sugar and bring to a light simmer so that the sugar dissolves into the water. You’ve now created what’s called a “simple syrup.”
- Put the lemon peels into the simple syrup and simmer this on a low-med heat for 12-15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat under the pot and allow it to cool, leaving the lemon peels in the simple syrup mixture.
- Remove the lemon peels from the cooled simple syrup. (As an aside, don’t throw out the simple syrup, either – save it in an air-tight container in the fridge for other uses. You can use it in cocktails or even add a little to sparkling water for a sweet, fizzy, lemony drink.)
- Roll the peels in the remaining 1/3 c. baking sugar, shaking off the excess. Lay the peels out on a drying rack or even a cookie sheet to let them dry. How long you leave them out may depend on the humidity, but it can take 1-2 days.
- Store your newly candied lemon peels in an air-tight container in the fridge, where they’ll live happily for as long as 2 months.
And that’s it! Thanks again, Lily, for sending in this recipe.
>> Find more Italian recipes to round out your menu!
Photo by: Rebecca Siegel