Wednesday, April 2, 2014

candied lemon slices - more like lemon rings

These days the shelves at the stores are inundated with rows and rows of processed overly sweet crap. You want to be able to feed your family delicious sweets that you know they'll love, but more than that, you know what's in them. That's why these Candied Lemon Slices are exactly what you've been waiting for. Well, they started out as slices but turned into rings. Later I'll show you how you can avoid this. They're naturally sweet, chewy, and you can be sure that they taste like the real deal because they are the real deal. Not only will the kids love these, but you'll love them too because they are just so easy to put together. You literally only need sugar, water, and a couple lemons. Heck, it's even easier than going to the store to buy them. So let's get started. 

First you need to obtain some lemons, obviously. Try to pick lemons that are round so all of your slices turn out the same. Although it may seem like common sense, you should also use lemons that have no blemishes or dried parts because remember we'll be eating the rinds as well. Rinse your lemons thoroughly and using a very sharp knife, cut an inch off both ends. 

When you're cutting your slices try to keep each one uniform. Unless you like the look of a candied lemon ring, you might want to cut the lemons a little thicker than I have so the center stays intact. The taste is all the same, it's just aesthetics. In the meantime you can heat up a pot of water.

When the water boils, toss in your lemon slices. We're only going to be blanching these for five minutes. Now this may seem like one of those skippable steps but trust me, you have to do it. By blanching the lemons we are essentially getting rid of a lot of the bitterness in the pith and getting rid of any waxy covering that might have came with your lemons. You know supermarkets may spray them with stuff to make them seem shiny. As much as I like eating wax I'm not sure it would taste good in this recipe. 

Once you've blanched them drain the water, however leave the lemons in the pot. Add sugar and a cup of water. This should be enough to cover the lemon slices. Gently stir to dissolve and put it over the heat. Crank the fire up to high until it boils, then you want to lower the heat to maintain a gently simmer. Remember once it boils you can't stir it or mess it up with a spoon or else you want the syrup to crystallize. Simmer for 1 hour. 

In the meantime you can spray a cooling rack with non-stick spray with a pan underneath. When you're lemons are done cooking and tender remove them from the syrup and onto the rack. They'll be pretty wet at the moment, but after a good night's time they'll dry up and be ready for consumption. If you wanted you could roll these in sugar instead of letting them dry on a rack. I much rather prefer to go without the extra sugar, mostly because the lemons are plenty sweet enough. However, you could dip these in chocolate and I do like that idea. Whatever you feel is right for your situation. 

Don't throw away the syrup though. Because it's so sweet and concentrated with that lemon flavor, it's perfect for mixing iced teas or sorbet, or anything of that nature. You can put it in a jar or cup and whenever you want tea, spoon a couple of tablespoons in a cup and add hot water. The chinese have been doing this for centuries and they claim that it's their chicken noodle soup to fighting colds. So I guess this week you're getting a two for one recipe deal. Go you.

These candied lemons are perfect for garnishing cakes and pies, or just eating as a snack with coffee. Not only are these easy to make, but the utilizations are endless. Especially in this spring lemon season where you can practically find a lemon at any store, on sale, and in season. This recipe also works with oranges, limes, and grapefruit so I do recommend exploring the vast word of citrus candying. So now you'll be that guy, the lemon candier. I really hope you all give this a try, the recipe is down below, and as always, 



2 lemons, thinly sliced 
water, to blanch lemon slices

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

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