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A MUST HAVE ingredient for your holiday baking – Sugar-Free Keto Candied Orange and Lemon Peel! Soft, sweet, and aromatic, and so much better than the sugary store brands!
Candied peel, succade, glazed fruit, crystallized fruit peel, or Zitronat (in German). There are many words for this essential Christmas baking ingredient, but they all refer to that sugary lemon or orange peel that we find most often in fruitcakes.
For this year’s holidays, I’m planning on baking a Keto Weihnachtsstollen (a traditional German Christmas bread). It combines all the distinct Christmas flavors of cinnamon, citrus fruits, and rum, and candied orange or lemon peel is one of the ingredients. However, I was not planning to use store-bought candied orange peel that is made with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and added colors or flavors!
Instead, I decided to try to make homemade SUGAR-FREE Keto Orange and Lemon Peel, and it worked out magnificently! The candied peel turned out sweet, soft, and aromatic! I can’t wait to use it for my German Keto Stollen!
How to use candied citrus peel!
The uses of this keto ingredient are countless! It’s a great low-carb substitute for raisins (say in raisin bread or ricotta cheesecake), could be used in keto granola bars or trail mixes, Christmas cookies, a filling for pound cake, or you could dip the whole candied orange/lemon slice into some melted chocolate for a special treat!
How to make homemade succade!
Basically, the goal is to replace the bitter peel with a sweet sugar syrup. Well, in our case, we will replace it with a sweet sugar-free syrup!
First, we will peel our citrus fruit and cut the peel into strips. By boiling the peel in water (3 times), we will cook away the bitterness. Now we are ready to cook our peel in our sugar-free syrup that consists of water, erythritol, and allulose. The cooking process takes about 45 minutes, until most of the water is cooked away. Now we just need to dry our candied peel for 24 hours!
Follow these tips for perfectly sweet and soft Keto Candied Orange and Lemon Peel!
Citrus fruit. The peel of just about any citrus fruit will work: orange, lemon, or lime. I usually use 1 orange and 1 lemon. Just make sure to pick ORGANIC fruit to avoid consuming any harmful chemicals from the peel. Wash and dry the fruit.
Prepare fruit. We will candy the whole peel, yes both the white pith and rind. The pith is important to make the finished sugar-free candied peel soft and not brittle. Don’t worry, the white part of the peel won’t make the end product bitter because WE WILL COOK AWAY THE BITTERNESS!
To peel the fruit, use a small, sharp knife to cut off the bottom and top. Next, score the peel into quarters. This will make it really easy for you to peel the fruit, quarter by quarter. Slice each quarter into thin strips (about 1/4″ thick), and you have just prepared your orange/lemon peel for the next step.
Sweetener. Traditionally, the peel is cooked in a sugary syrup until most of the fruit is basically replaced by sugar. Well, in this keto version we obviously can’t do that. Instead, we use erythritol AND allulose. I highly recommend both of these sweeteners for this recipe. Erythritol alone will result in a hard and crunchy peel. By adding some allulose, the end product will be nice and soft, even after drying. That’s what we want.
Cooking. We need to cook the peel 3 times, with fresh water each time, to remove that bitterness from our citrus fruits and soften the rind: Place the prepared orange/lemon peel into a small saucepan, cover with water, sprinkle with some salt, and cook on a low boil for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat two more times (without salt).
Candying the peel. Now the peel is ready to cook in the “sugar” syrup. Combine 1/2 cup erythritol and 1/2 cup allulose with 1 cup of water in your small saucepan. Bring this sugar water to a low boil and stir to dissolve the sweeteners. As soon as you see the mixture bubble, turn down heat, add your peel, and simmer for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Keep the heat low – you don’t want the syrup or peel to burn!
Drying the peel. Once most of the water has evaporated and a thin syrup remains, remove from heat. Transfer the candied peel on a cooling rack to dry (line either the rack or the countertop with parchment paper for easy clean-up). Dry the peel for at least 24 hours. If using for baking, chop the dried slices into little cubes.
After cooking, there will be a bit of syrup leftover. You don’t need to waste it. I add some to my water for a sweet/sour drink.
Storing. Traditional candied fruit lasts years on the countertop. But our sugar-free keto candied orange/lemon peel will only last about 2 WEEKS in the fridge. If you are not planning on using it right away, you can freeze it in an airtight container!
Soft and sweet SUGAR-FREE Keto Candied Orange and Lemon Peel!
USE YOUR HOMEMADE SUGAR-FREE PEEL IN THESE KETO RECIPES
Sugar-Free Keto Candied Orange and Lemon Peel
- Wash and scrub the fruit with warm water. To peel, use a small, sharp knife to cut off the bottom and top. Next, score the peel into quarters and peel the fruit. Slice each quarter into thin strips (about 1/4" thick).
- Place the prepared orange/lemon peel into a small saucepan, cover with water, sprinkle with some salt, and cook on a low boil for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat two more times (without salt). After boiling the peel for a third time, drain, and rinse again, but this time leave the peel in your strainer.
- Combine erythritol, allulose, and 1 cup of water in small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low boil and stir to dissolve the sweeteners. As soon as you see the mixture bubble, turn down heat, add your peel, and simmer for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Keep the heat low – you don't want the syrup or peel to burn!
- Once most of the water has evaporated and a thin syrup remains, remove from heat. Transfer the candied peel on a cooling rack to dry (line either the rack or the countertop with parchment paper for easy clean-up). Dry the peel for at least 24 hours. Chop the dried slices into little cubes if you want to use them for baking later.
- Store the candied peel in an airtight container in your fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for about 3 months.