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 OF THE GOOD HUS-WIVES JEWELL, 1597.

"(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 minutes.

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.

"To Candy Orange Pills", from The Arte of Perseruing, Delightes for Ladies, Sir Hugh Plat, 1609

"Take your orange pills, afte they be preserued: then take fine sugar and rosewater and boyle it to the height of Manus Christi: then draw thorow your sugar: then lay them on the bottom of a sieue, and dry them in an ouen after you have drawn breade, and they will be candied.

ORENGAT:From Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations. Scully, D. Eleanor and Scully, Terence, University of Michigan Press, 1995. ISBN 0-472-10648-1. The original recipe reference given is Menagier de Paris, p.265/§352

Pour faire Orengat, mettez en cinq quartiers les peleures d'une orenge et raclez a un coustel la mousse qui est dedans, puis les mettez tremper en bonne eaue doucle par neuf jours, et changez l'eaume chascun jour; puis les boulez en eaue doulce une seule onde. Et, ce fait, les faictes estendre sur une nappe et les laissiez essuier tres bien; puis les mettez en un pot, et du miel tant qu'ils soient tous couvers, et faites boulir a petit feu et escumer. Et quantvous croirez que le miel soit cuit--pour essaier s'il est cuit, ayez de l'eaue en une escuelle, et faites degouter en icelle eaue une goutte d'icelluy miel, et s'il s'espant, il n'est pas cuit; et se icelle goute de miel se tient en l'eau sans espandre, il est cuit--et lors devez traire vos peleures d'orenge. Et d'icelles faites par ordre un lit, et gettez pouldre de gingembre dessus, puis un autre, et getter etc., usque in infinitum; et laissier un mois ou plus, puis mengier.

Authors mention that in the original recipe this is a 9-day process and it is recommended that it be stored for a month before eating. The following is their version.

Candied Orange Peel


2 cups sliced orange peel

1 1/2 to 2 cups cold water

Cut orange peel into quarters. Scrape pulp from inside with a spoon or knife and slice peel into thin strips. Cover with cold water in a pot. Bring slowly to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Drain and dry.

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup honey

Make a syrup of honey and water. Add peel. Boil until syrup is absorbed and the peel becomes transparent.

2-3 tsp. powdered ginger

2 tsp. sugar

Lay individual strips of peel on waxed paper. Sprinkle on both sides with powdered ginger and sugar mixture. Expose to air until cold and surface moisture has evaporated.

Store in airtight container until needed.

To make Candied Orange Peel: The Goodman of Paris, c. 1393, translated by Eileen Power, 1928, Harcourt, Brace and Company, NY

To make Candied Orange Peel, cut the peel of an orange into five pieces and scrape away the loose skin inside with a knife, then set them to soak in good, fresh water for nine days and change the water daily; then boil them, letting them come once to the boil only, in fresh water, and this done, spread them on a cloth and let them dry thoroughly, then put them in a pot of honey until they be quite covered therewith, and boil on a slow fire and skim. And when you think that the honey is cooked (to try if it be cooked, have some water in a spoon, and pour a drop of the honey into the water and if it spreads it is not done, and if the drop of honey remains in the water without spreading, then it is done), then you must take out your pieces of orange peel and set out a layer in order and sprinkle powdered ginger thereon, then another layer, and sprinkle etc., usque in infinitum; and leave them for a month or more and then eat them.

Ranciata: The Original Mediterranean Cuisine: Medieval recipes for today. Santich, Barbara, Chicago Review Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55652-272-X. Recipe originally from the Liber per Cuoco.

Toy la scorza del ranzo e fane quellii pezi che tu vole e curali ben dentro, miti a mole per 15 zorni poy le lessa in aqua tanto che sia tenere, lasale sugare per tri zorni, poy lomiti in lo mele che tu la voi bolire per tri zorni, poi la fa bolire un pocho e chambia poy quello mele e miti l'altro chon le spezie; ma prima le specie siano messe dentro sia spumato lo mele, bolla tanto che 'l mele sia ben cocto, poy la lassa alquanti zorni a l'aiere senza sole.

Her translation:

Take orange peel and cut it into pieces as desired and clean the inside, and set them to soak for 2 weeks then boil them in water until soft, leave them to dry for 3 days, then put them in the honey that you wish them to boil in for 3 days, then boil them a little and then change this honey for the other with the spices; but first the spices have to be put in the honey; then boil these together, skimming, until the honey is well cooked, then leave them to dry for several days in the fresh air, out of the sun.

Her recipe:

Carefully remove the peel of ripe, unwaxed oranges, retaining most of the pith. Cut into fine strips or segments, as desired. Soak in several changes of fresh water for 24 hours. At the end of this time, drain, then slowly bring to the boil in fresh water to cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Drain the orange peel, pat dry and leave to dry thoroughly, weigh when dry.

Measure an equal mass of honey and slowly bring to the boil, skimming the froth from the surface. Add the peel and cook slowly until the honey reaches the 'soft ball' stage, by which stage there will be very little 'free' honey remaining. Remove the orange peel and arrange it on an oiled tray, or on a tray lined with baking paper. Leave to dry for several days and sprinkle with ground ginger, or toss in a little caster sugar flavoured with ginger, before storing in an airtight container.

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