Don’t toss out the rinds of our Satsuma Mandarins. They make delicious candied rinds to eat as a treat or to use in baked goods or candy. We love to make panforte out of our candied mandarin rinds.
For success with this recipe I recommend you have a candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the syrup throughout the process. You also should have some parchment paper, non-stick spray or vegetable oil or shortening, a good sized saucepan with a lid, and some type of heatproof strainer. Optional items are a cooling rack, and a dehydrator.
Ingredients are only the rinds, lots of sugar, and water.
When you are peeling the Satsumas, it is easy to keep the rinds in large pieces since the rinds usually separate so easily from the fruit. Larger rinds will be easier to candy although if you plan to use chopped rind in panforte or another recipe you can also chop the rind before candying it. In this case you may not cook it to quite as high of a temperature in the final step (try 225-230 instead of 240), as it may fall apart. When I do that, I use it right away in recipes after draining it as chopped rind is harder to dry and store.
As you are eating the Satsumas, save your large nice looking rinds in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you have enough to make a batch. For many of our customers this does not take very long! Remove any stem ends and slice or chop if desired, or leave in good sized pieces (¼ to 1/3 of a total mandarin rind is a good size)
Once you have about 6-7 cups of rinds, you are ready to candy them.
Cover the rinds with a lot of water; you cannot really use too much so a large stockpot is useful here. Bring the water to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, then drain the rinds. Do this one more time. This softens the rinds and removes some of the bitterness. Note, mandarins can have much softer rinds than other citrus so use your judgement here. If the rinds are very soft and thin you may need to shorten the boiling time or only use one boil. Make sure they do not get so soft that they will fall apart in the next step.
Once the rind has been softened by boiling, drain it and set aside.
Now, in a medium to large sized saucepan, make a syrup using 3 cups water to 6 cups sugar. The height of the syrup should not be more than about ¼ up the sides of the pan. This allows room for boiling and for adding the rinds. Stir the sugar into the water, and gradually heat it making sure it dissolves. There should be no sugar crystals on the side of the pan so wash it down with a pastry brush with water or put a lid on the pan for a few minutes to let the steam build up to wash down the sides. Be careful not to let the pan boil over.
Once the sugar is well dissolved, raise the temperature of the syrup to a rolling boil and continue to boil until it has reached the “thread stage” which is 230 F on a candy thermometer.
Now add the rind to the pan and stir it in. Tuck the rind under the syrup as best you can so it is all being infused in the syrup.
Put a piece of parchment paper over the rind to help hold it under the syrup.
Now let the rind slowly simmer in the syrup for about 1 hour. Once in a while you may want to remove the paper and gently stir the rind a bit and tuck it under the syrup again to make sure all of it gets infused with the syrup.
NOTE: Excessive stirring can break up the rind, and also cause sugar crystallization so a gentle touch with minimal stirring is important in this recipe.
After one hour, remove the parchment and raise the heat to a good rolling boil. Cook the rind in the syrup, giving it a gentle stir on occasion, especially making sure it does not burn at the bottom, until the syrup thickens and reaches the firm soft ball stage which is 230-235 range on the candy thermometer. Note: If the syrup gets very thick and stirring any more is breaking up the rind, causing it to turn to mush, or if the rind has absorbed most of the syrup, stop cooking and proceed to the next step.
Now remove the rind from the syrup. The easiest way to do this is to strain it in a strainer that has relatively large openings for the syrup to go through, or to remove it from the syrup with a slotted spoon. Be careful, the syrup is very hot and can burn you.
Separate the rinds out on parchment that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil, and let them cool. You may want to spoon them onto the paper when they are still hot, then let them sit until they can be touched at which time you can separate them from each other. If they cool all the way while stuck together you will have a hard time separating them.
To dry further you can put them on a drying rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil, and put them in a warm dry place. You can also dry them at 100-110 in a dehydrator or in an oven set on the dehydrator setting or with the oven light on. Once they are no longer sticky they are ready.
To store the rind, refrigerate it or put it in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Make sure it is kept very dry. You can layer it with sugar to help keep it dry. Keep an eye on it and do not store it too long though because if moisture builds up it can occasionally grow mold and spoil.
Use in recipes or serve as is.