Jams & Preserves

Candied Lemon Zest

Candied lemon zest makes a lovely garnish for summer desserts. It also makes a damn fine addition to summer cocktails.
The key to making candied citrus zest is extracting all of the bitter flavor imparted by the pith (the white, inner part of the peel). Since it’s nearly impossible to remove the pith completely, the best way to get the bitter out is blanching the zest three times, by dropping it into boiling water to release the bitterness, then shocking it with ice water to stop the cooking (and repeat, and repeat).


Candied Lemon Zest

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  • 4 citrus fruits
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water



Set two pots of water (with 1 quart of water in each) to boil over high heat. By the time you’re ready to start blanching, the water will be ready.


Use a peeler and make long broad strokes from pole to pole of the fruit. Avoid digging into the pith, but don’t fret if you’ve taken a bit as you peel. Chop the zest into thin strips if desired.


Set up an ice bath by filling large bowl three-quarters of the way with ice cubes and cold water. Set the bowl near the stove, along with a slotted spoon, spider, or small strainer.


When the water comes to a boil, add the zest to Pot #1 and allow it to simmer for 20 seconds. Remove the zest from the water, either by fishing it out with the spider or pouring it through a strainer into the sink. Rinse and refill Pot #1 with another quart of water, and return the pot to a boil.


Plunge the zest into the bath of ice water. It’s helpful to keep the strands inside the strainer in the bath to avoid having to pick the zest out of the ice.


Repeat the procedure two more times.


When you’ve finished blanching, you can immediately set up for the final step: candying. Using the ratio of 1 cup fresh water to one cup sugar for every four fruits you’ve zested, combine sugar, and water and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.


Once all of the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is bubbling, reduce the heat to a simmer (just a few steady bubbles, as opposed to a rolling boil) and add the blanched zest. Simmer for about twenty minutes, until the zest is completely translucent and curling along the edges. The syrup will become thicker and take on some color from the peel. Store the zest in the syrup and allow it to cool before using it. Refrigerate in a sealed container.

Candied lemon zest

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  • Reply
    Cristina {Teenie Cakes}
    July 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    What a beautiful blog you have here. I love your photography! I'm saving this recipe for candied lemon zest, it will be perfect garnish for a spoon dessert I'm working on.

    Thx for the friend invite on FoodBuzz and have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Pictures are so sunny and nice!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Definitely am going to do this! It sounds wonderful and your pictures really sell it.

  • Reply
    Magic of Spice
    July 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    This looks absolutely fantastic!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2011 at 12:42 am

    The pictures are absolutely wonderful. I tried it and it tastes very good

  • Reply
    August 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    That's terrific! I would love to take a zip from it and enjoy eating those pulps.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2011 at 12:18 am

    All your photos are just sooo gorgeous I want to lick the computer screen

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Christmas Gin Cocktails

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Consider also spreading it on racks to dry and then rolling in sugar and storing in a jar in the pantry. It is lovely served as a tidbit with black coffee or a snack with nuts. It is a much better ingredient for fruit cakes rather than bought commercially made peel.

  • Reply
    Baking Soda
    August 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Over from pinterest; gorgeous pictures!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Wow! What a beautiful creation!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2013 at 3:12 am

    I ended up doing a mix of orange and lemon. Then put it in a water bath top for longer storage. I tripled ingredients as well. Turned out well. Thank you.

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