After making all of that lemonade concentrate (and it took about 20 lemons!) I had a whole bunch of perfectly good lemon peels that I just couldn’t let go to waste. So I decided to make candied lemon peel. I’d never tried to make candied peels before– I’ve candied kumquat slices before (tasty) and had a failure of candied blood orange slices (I let them boil too long in the syrup and they completely caramelized and burned)– so I thought it was about time to give it a try.
First, cut your lemons lengthwise and juice them with a citrus reamer. (Use the juice to make lemonade!) The lengthwise cut will make it easier for you to scrape out the insides and the pith.
Use a measuring spoon to scrape out the remaining pulp and the inner layer of white pith. You don’t have to scrape it out entirely (and some recipes skip it altogether) but you should be able to see light through at least some spots on your peel.
Once the lemon peels are scraped, cut them into 1/4″ slices and put them in a pot with cold water– just enough to cover them. Bring the water to a boil, then drain the lemon peels. Repeat the process with fresh water.
Once you’ve got your twice-boiled peels ready, put them back in the pot with just enough simple syrup (made with an equal ratio of water to sugar by volume) to almost cover them, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour until translucent and tender to bite into.
Drain the syrup and let the peels dry on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes.
After that you can dredge the peels in granulated sugar and let them dry on a new sheet, or just let them keep drying for a more jellied consistency. I tried both.
Once the peels have dried overnight, store them in an airtight container. Be advised that if it’s humid out, the peels may not stay dry on the baking sheet! If that happens, you may want to blow a fan over them for a few hours to keep them dry and firm (rather than soft and sugar-sludgy). If that still doesn’t work, resign yourself to using your candied peel in a cake or other dessert recipe.
I will note that many recipes say that you can use the leftover sugar syrup in cocktails, over fruit, etc. I personally don’t care for the flavor– it isn’t “bright” enough, so it doesn’t taste all that lemony to me. It tastes like cooked citrus, which I’m not a huge fan of. You may like it, and if so feel free to save it in the fridge for future use.