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).


  • 4 citrus fruits
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 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 a 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. Refrigerate in a sealed container.



Cristina {Teenie Cakes} said...
July 21, 2011 at 12:47 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!

Medeja said...
July 22, 2011 at 7:52 AM  

Pictures are so sunny and nice!

mjskit said...
July 22, 2011 at 10:42 PM  

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

Magic of Spice said...
July 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM  

This looks absolutely fantastic!

Gulia said...
August 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM  

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

myfudo said...
August 28, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

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

Anonymous said...
October 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM  

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

Tanya said...
July 23, 2012 at 2:28 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.

Baking Soda said...
August 16, 2012 at 5:15 AM  

Over from pinterest; gorgeous pictures!

Nancy said...
March 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM  

Wow! What a beautiful creation!

Michaella said...
June 6, 2013 at 11:12 PM  

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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