[Sca-cooks] Looking for Recipes for Seville Orange Peel

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Thu Oct 25 12:14:27 PDT 2012

I think Drakey asked about what to do with orange peels.  Here's what 
I've been using to candy them:


Candied peel was often referred to as "suckets."  "Wet" suckets were in 
a sugary liquid, while "dry" suckets such as these were set near the 
fire to harden, or were cooked until the sugary liquid was incorporated 
into the peel and a sugar coating remained.  The dry suckets were then 
sometimes rolled in additional sugar.  Here is the Dawson recipe that I 
use.  For ease of reference, I have numbered various steps in his 
recipe, which then correspond to steps I took, and comments I have about 
the procedure.

"A goodlye secret for to condite or confite Orenges, citrons, and all 
other fruites in sirrop", a recipe from Thomas Dawson, THE SECOND PART 

"(1) Take Cytrons and cut them in peeces, taking out of them the iuice 
or  substance,  (2) then boyle them in freshe water halfe an hower 
untill they  be tender, and when you take them out, (3) cast them into 
cold water, leave  them there a good while, (4) then set them on the 
fire againe in other  freshe water, (5) doo but heate it a little with a 
small fire, for it not  seeth, but let it simper a little (6) continue 
thus eight daies together heating them every day inn hot water: (7) some 
heat the watre but one day, to the end that the citron be not too 
tender, but change the freshe water at night to take out the bitternesse 
of the pilles, the which being taken away, (8) you must take suger or 
Hony clarified, wherein you must the citrons put, (9) having first wel 
dried them from the water, & in winter you must keep them from the 
frost, (10) & in the Sommer you shal leave them there all night, and a 
day and a night in Honie, (11) then boile the Honie or Sugar by it selfe 
without the orenges or Citrons by the space of halfe an hower or lesse 
with a little fire, (12) and being colde set it againe to the fire with 
the Citrons, (13) continuing so two mornings: if you wil put Honnie in 
water and not suger, you must clarifie it two times, and straine it 
through a strayner: having thus warmed and clarified it you shall 
straine and (14) sett it againe to the fire, with Citrons onely, making 
them to boyle with a soft fire the space of a quarter of an houre, (15) 
then take it from the fire & let it rest at every time you do it, a day 
& a night: (16) the next morning you shall boyle it again together the 
space of half an hower, and (17) doo so two morninges, to the end that 
the Honie or Suger may be well incorporated with the Citrons.  All the 
cumuing (sic) consisteth in the boyling of this sirrope together with 
the Citrons, and also the Sirrope by it selfe,and heerein heede must be 
takken that it take not the smoke, so that it savour not of the fire: 
In this manner may be drest the Peaches, or lemmons Orenges, Apples, 
green Malnuts, and (18) other liste being boile more or lesse, according 
to the nature of the fruits."


1.  I have used various fruits.  Lemons seem to take fewer cookings 
before falling apart.  Apples tolerate very little cooking, and leaving 
the peel on seemed to help the slices keep their shape.  For lemons and 
oranges, I cut the fruit in half, squeezed out the juice and scraped out 
the pulp.  Then I cut each of the halves into half again, removing as 
much of the bitter white part as was practical.  Each quarter piece was 
then cut into thirds or fourths, depending on the size of the peel.

2. Boil them gently for 30 minutes.

3. Drain the water and add fresh, cold water, letting the peel sit for 
about six hours.

4. Again, drain the peel, add fresh water and ...

5. ...simmer them for 30 minutes.  Dawson doesn't specify a time for the 
repeated cookings, so I kept the 30-minute timing.  He also specifically 
warns against boiling them.  Simmering is sufficient.

6. Continue the simmering, draining, cold-water-sitting (letting it sit 
for some five to six hours each time) for five more times over two 
additional days.  I have found that the best peels result when I don't 
rush the process.  Doing the peels with less time for "resting", and 
omitting some of the days, gives a good peel, but superior ones result 
from lengthy sitting and not rushing.

7. (Here, Dawson provides the option to speed up the process.)

8. I use the sugar and water combination, since sugar is cheaper now 
than honey, and since I am more familiar with the results of cooking 
with sugar.  Dawson gives no amounts for the sugar and water. 
Therefore, I went to a contemporary recipe of John Partridge ("Sucade of 
Peeles of Lemmons", 1573) and "borrowed" the amount.  I use one quart of 
liquid which includes two cups of "liquor" (the liquid the peels had 
cooked in at the final cooking) and one and a half cups of sugar.  If 
the cook forgets to save the "liquor", plain water will do.  (Note:  I 
often add much more sugar, for example, 2 cups of sugar to one quart of 
liquid.  I find that the additional sugar makes the final result less 
sticky, with more of a sugar coating.)

9. Before adding the peels to the sugar water I let the drained peels 
sit on a cloth.  Some of the time I sat the peels before an open oven 
door that I guessed might approximate the warmth of an Elizabethan 
hearth.  I let the peels air-dry for half a day or more.

10. Then, add the peels to the sugar water and let them sit overnight.

11. In the morning, spoon out the peels and boil the sugar water by 
itself for 20 minutes on a moderate fire.

12.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool before adding the peel 
to it, putting it back on the moderate fire and simmering it for 20 

13.  Let the peel sit the rest of the day and overnight.

14.  Put the peel back on a moderate fire the next morning and simmer it 
again for 30 minutes.  I have found that there is a noticeable reduction 
of liquid at this point, since the peel has begun to absorb the sugar water.

15.  Let it rest again for a day and a night.

16 and 17.  This is (as I read the recipe) Dawson's summary of the 
two-day process, that is, cooking it briefly and resting it for a day 
and a night.

17.  Here Dawson specifies a 30-minute cooking period for the sugar 
water/peel mixture.  I generally find that there is very little liquid 
left on the second morning.  Supervise the final cooking to be sure the 
peel doesn't stick or burn, turn the peel out onto waxed paper (which 
would be similar to parchment paper) to air dry, if you want a dry sucket.

18.  Now Dawson gives an appropriate warning to cook the peels according 
to their nature.  I have found that each peel takes a different amount 
of time to cook.  Putting two different fruits in one pot generally 
results in one fruit disintegrating before the other is ready for the 
final sugar water process.  If the peels seem to be too moist, roll them 
in granulated sugar.

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com
alyskatharine at gmail.com

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