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arancello, limoncello, candied citrus peel, oh my

In early 2010 I posted the recipe for Limoncello. It actually consisted of three posts because the process to make the sweet Italian liqueur takes nearly 3 months.

Limoncello circa 2010

After using bits of it here and there in dessert recipes and occasionally enjoying it as an after-dinner delight, the last of that batch was consumed in late 2019. That’s correct, it took nearly 10 years to get to the last drop. Limoncello is stored in the freezer, so no worries about it going bad, even 10 years later.

I doubled down with this year’s citrus crop and not only made a new batch of Limoncello but a batch of Arancello as well, which is the orange counterpart to the lemons used in Limoncello. (arancia is Italian for orange)

This go-round, I funneled both batches into smaller bottles that I can give away. As much as I love it, I do not need to have a supply of Arancello and Limoncello circa 2020 in my freezer when we ring in the year 2040!

Another difference between 2010 and 2020 is that I did not throw out the citrus peels after the final bottling stage, I candied them. Another fabulous byproduct is the sweet orange and lemon syrups left from the candying process.

To make the Arancello, follow the three-step directions of this recipe for Limoncello.

After the orange peels have been drained during the final step of making your liqueur, set aside the peels in a bowl. In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil.

Once the sugar has dissolved, add the orange peel, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the peels for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the peels cool completely in their simple syrup. Repeat the procedure if making candied lemon peels.

Drain peels, reserve syrup, and place peels on a wire rack set over a sheet pan so the excess syrup drips away.

Next, dust with granulated sugar on all sides and dry completely for 1 to 2 days, depending on the humidity.

Transfer and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Candied citrus peels will keep for at least a month. They’ll keep for a couple of months in the fridge and for up to 6 months frozen.

The orange and lemon simple syrups that were the result of candying the peels may be used to glaze cakes or used in cocktails. It too may be stored in the freezer to keep longer.

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What to do with those peels you’ve just candied? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Sprinkle the candied citrus peel on a green salad along with toasted pine nuts.
  2. Chop the slices into small bits and add them to baked goods such as bread, cookies, and cakes.
  3. Add them to savory dishes like rice, roasted vegetables, or slow-cooked chicken dishes.
  4. Best idea of all … dip in chocolate, let cool and dry on a rack, and enjoy!

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