Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cooking with Ned: Candied Citron

Z likes fruitcake. I hate fruitcake but love to cook. I vastly prefer to cook things from scratch, so I decided I would make him a fruitcake. I found this recipe and used it as sort of a guideline. Z loves candied citron from the store, so I didn't want to leave it out of the recipe. I was already drying fruit in my food dehydrator, so I figured I might as well candy a citron.

Step 1: What the Heck is a Citron?
No really. Having shopped primarily in large chain grocery stores my entire life, I had no idea what a citron was. At first I thought "candied citron" was just candied citrus peel, but further investigation  shows that a citron is actually a fruit. A very difficult to find fruit. There are basically two different types of citron found in grocery stores. The etrog citron looks like a large and very lumpy lemon. The Buddha's Hand citron looks like the illegitimate offspring of a lemon and a kraken. I found mine at Whole Foods.

Step 2: Unbrining That Which You Have Brined

Candied fruit is made by boiling the fruit in sugar syrup for all eternity. I used this recipe because it gave candy thermometer temperatures to follow so you know when it's done. Two cups of water, three cups of sugar, a spoonful of corn syrup, boil to 230 degrees F. The Buddha's hand citron doesn't have any fruity bits on the inside, it's basically nothing but rind. No scraping, no peeling, just dice the damned thing up and throw it in the pot.

When I first looked up candied citron, I found a lot of recipes for candied fruit peel that involved soaking or boiling the peels in saltwater first. I neglected to note that none of the handful of candied citron recipes online called for salt, and ended up with weirdly salty candied citron. I'm a terrible but optimistic cook, so I decided to throw it back in plain water and boil it until it wasn't salty anymore, then start over with new syrup.

Join us next time for fruitcake! Or possibly toffee, depending on what I decide to do with that syrup.

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