Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Candied Meyer Lemons

Because of my allergies I have not yet found a store-bought candy that I can eat. These Candied Meyer Lemons are a great alternative to store-bought candies, and have brought a little bit of joy into my life! If your allergies are anything like mine, I think you will appreciate these candies too. I was so pleased with how these turned out, even the first time that I made them. This is pretty much a fool-proof recipe. And although these candies take a bit of time to cook and set, they do not demand a lot of your attention or energy. I gave these Candied Meyer Lemons as Christmas gifts this year, and they were really well received. My grandparents told me they were just like English candied fruit, which they hadn't had in years! My mom loved them because they are just like the fruit gummies she is so fond of. And my sister has called them a "ray of sunshine on a cold winter day". Not bad, not bad at all!

I tried to find a candied lemon recipe online but the results were different than what I was looking for, so this is a combination of recipes that I have read, as well as some of my own ideas. The resources I read online are:

How to Make Candied Lemon Slices from ButterYum
Candied Lemon Slices from Ryan's Baking Blog
Dan Lepard's Candied Lemon Friands Recipe from The Guardian UK

Candied Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons (I generally use 6-8 lemons)
Water for boiling
Sugar syrup-1 part sugar, 2 parts water (for 6-8 lemons you will need about 4 cups of sugar, to 8 cups of water)

Slice the lemons into rounds, approximately 1 cm thick. Gently remove all seeds. In a large pot boil enough water that will cover the lemon slices. Once boiling, add lemons, boil for about 5 minutes and then drain (this removes any bitterness from the lemons). In the same pot make the sugar syrup. Make sure to combine enough sugar and water that will cover your lemons and allow them to float in the pot. Gently heat to dissolve the sugar. Add lemon slices and gently bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat to low, cook lemons in sugar syrup, barely simmering, for about 6 hours. Gently stir the lemons and syrup about every half-hour or hour. To check to see if they are done, pick the thickest slice and try to break through the peel with a wooden spoon (I do this against the side of the pot). 

Once the lemons are soft enough to break through the peel, you have three choices:

1) Drain them and make candies. 
2) Store them in a jar in their syrup to use as a spread on toast, or a topping on pancakes, ice cream, yogurt, or add it to mineral water or mixed drinks. (The syrup tastes similar to marmalade, which is great for me because I am allergic to orange, but can tolerate lemon.) 
3) Drain them and make candies, but reserve the syrup for a spread etc. 

If you are making candies, simply lay them onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and let set for a couple of days. You want them to be just slightly tacky to the touch, so be patient. Once set you can press them into sugar and then store them in a container, separating the layers with parchment paper. If you do not want them sugar-coated then they will still be OK, just a little sticky.


- If you notice that the sugar syrup is dwindling, just add more syrup. You want to make sure the lemons are always floating in the syrup and not touching the bottom of your pot, so as not to stick and burn.

- It is normal for the syrup to darken as the cooking progresses, however, do not let the syrup burn.

- If the lemons are not cooked enough but you cannot monitor them for a while simply turn off the heat and allow them to sit in the syrup until you are available to cook them again. I have even let them sit overnight with success.

- Most vegans to not eat refined, white sugar, so if you want this recipe to be vegan you would have to use raw sugar instead.


- If you do not have access to Meyer lemons you can use regular lemons, however they will take much longer to cook because their rind is tougher and thicker, and they will not have as delicate a flavour as the Meyer lemons do. You may also want to experiment with other types of citrus, but the cooking time will differ depending on the thickness of the rind.

- I think that this recipe would work well with honey in place of sugar, although I have not tried it yet. Because honey is a humectant it will probably change the moisture of the candies, and they may need longer to set, or they may remain sticky indefinitely.

I shared this post with Allergy Friendly Friday. Check out the other great recipes there!

*Please Note* These recipes are part of my personal allergy diet. Please remember that everyone's allergies are different.  If you are unsure about any ingredients listed in these recipes please check with your doctor before introducing.