There’s not any candy that is healthy per se, but some sweet treats are better than others. This candied lemon slices recipe uses Myer lemons to satisfy any lemon lover.
First this- Did you know that candied lemon slices, which are minimally processed, retain their vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and iron? At least when you indulge, you can do it smarter, right?
Second, this- I’ve gotta tell ya that knowing you can make your own candy at home is a delightfully dangerous dilemma. So, it’s a good thing that this recipe takes advantage of their limited winter season debut when Myer lemons are at their lowest cost and peak flavor.
I encourage you to live as dangerously as you can mid-November through March and in addition to this recipe, dehydrate them as I showed you here, while you also make this equally useful candied lemon treat!
After that tense exchange, let me put your mind at ease.
Making Candied Lemon Slices is:
- Sooooo worth your time.
- Candied lemon slices are much, much more versatile than what you think and,
- “Hello”, Myer lemons are the crowning jewel of the lemon varieties (ok, that totally shows my bias) because they’re the love child of the “uptown” mandarian orange and the “downtown” tart lemon that resulted in this lil’ plump, deep yellow, richly fragranced baby. And that baby is soooo sweet (literally, like that’s what you expect when you get a Myer lemon…sweetness).
(clearly, that reference reveals that I’m a Billy Joel fan and avoid technical descriptions, but you get the gist, right?)
And, might I add that a candied Meyer lemon just lends a particular kind of beauty to a cup of herbal tea? While I’m still in the habit of using my clunky mugs waaay more than my antique thrifted china …this girl still appreciates those quick and easy moments of beauty. Darling, this is an easy way to get your eyes, nose, and taste buds there via your own two hands (well, more like a pot, spatula, and dry rack). But those simple pleasures are magical, are they not?
Can you eat whole candied lemon slices?
Absolutely. It’s a tasteful delight you’ll want to repeat over and over. Their thin rind and pucker-less taste give them an easy-going extroverted personality that wins your introverted trust. But don’t stop there. Especially when these tasty treats easily lend themselves to making your everyday feel gourmet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
Favorite uses for candied orange and lemon slices:
Candied Meyer lemon slices have proven to be an excellent food preservation option for my modern homestead simply because of how dag on easy they are to brighten up the flavor of bread, pastries, or pasta create easy meat glazes and edible garnishes. But let me give you a few ideas…
- Make a picture perfect stunning garnish: Candied lemon slices are a stunning garnish that instantly adds that piz-zah to home baked goods like cakes and cookies. Try topping them on your next chocolate ganache tart or lemon meringue for that, “Whoa, this came from my kitchen? Where’s my phone so I can take a picture?” factor. (At least that’s how I describe it).
- Streusel and Crumb Topping Extraordinaire: Candied lemon slices make the perfect addition to punch up the flavor in a streusel topping. All you have to do is chop them into small pieces and toss them into your crumbled mix. Imagine folding homemade diced candied lemon rinds into the crumb topping of lemon poppy seed muffins. I warn you now, this’ll take whatever recipe you use over the top!! (ps: do you know how easy it is to make crumb topping in batches and freeze it so that you always have it on hand? Well, now ya know).
- Let’s talk dinner: When those thawed out chicken breasts are staring back at me and I have candied lemons on hand, I feel empowered to use my candied treats into a delicious glaze, melded with walnuts and leeks or make a Moroccani inspired dish known as Chicken Tagine with candied lemons and olives. Both require less than 10 minutes of active prep and 1 pan. SOLD!
- Cocktails and Candied Lemons: This recipe makes a lovely edible garnish for your cocktails….because who has time for something that looks pretty but ya’ can’t eat? Not this girl.
- They Call me Mellow Yellow: Or, Lemon(cello)… popsicles! Fun for kids or adults, these are easy to make with a popsicle mold, sherbet and chopped candied lemon for extra zing! Delicious and refreshing on hot summer days.
- Candied Cornbread: I know you’re thinking, “What, Cassandra?” but if you add sugar to your cornbread, this isn’t that much of a stretch! Cornbread in this house is either the baked or hot water variety, but sometimes, you’ve gotta freshen up your favorites and your candied lemon peels will do it! Truly, whatever has batter, just dump these in, especially your muffins and breads and you won’t go wrong. But I strongly suggest you start with an elegant and affordable lemon blueberry cornbread skillet. I’ll let you decide if it appears for breakfast, lunch or dinner (hint: it’s great for all 3).
Why you’ll love this recipe
- You’ll only 3 ingredients: citrus slices, sugar, and water
- This recipe works for any kind of citrus, so feel free to substitute lemons with oranges or grapefruit!
- Store bought lemon slices are generally not organic, not fresh, and contain unnecessary chemicals. That won’t be a problem here.
How do I store candied lemon slices? And when do they expire?
Candied lemon slices may be kept refrigerated for up to one month in a sealed, airtight container.
What is the best way to prep your lemons?
- Be sure to thoroughly wash, rinse and completely dry your lemons a few hours before you plan to dehydrate them. This helps remove bacteria, including E. coli, from the surface of your fruit. The peel of non-organic lemons may be covered with insecticides, pesticides, or a manufactured wax covering you’ll 100% want to avoid, making washing them imperative.
- Discard any lemons that are bruised, have brown or mold spots or feel mushy.
Why does this recipe require blanching?
“Required” is a strong word, so think of blanching as “strongly recommended.” Here’s why. Blanching helps to retrain the nutrients, flavor, and shape of your lemon slices by giving those enzymes acute shock. Plus, a plain water boil strongly reduces the bitter taste of the pith. If you’re giving these as gifts or they’ll be making a public debut, it’s worth blanching.
How much time (or energy) does this recipe require?
This question is always in the back of my mind too. The recipe is easy because the ingredient list and equipment you need are so nill. Buuuuut, because the lemons will need to air dry for 24 hours before you dip them sugar. Just know candied lemon slices aren’t an immediate treat and they’ll take up a bit of your counter space.
Still worth it, tho’.
Do it. Doooo it! Doooooooooo IT!
Candied Lemon Slices Recipe | Myer Lemons
4 Myer lemons (or 2 regular lemons) thinly sliced 1/8 -inch thickness (use a mandolin or sharp knife)
+ 1 more lemon to squeeze 2 tbsps of juice
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
- Chop off and discard the ends of your lemons. Slice each lemon as thinly as possible using a sharp knife or mandolin to achieve ⅛ slices. In order for the lemons to cook evenly and more efficiently, uniformly cut each slice.
- Remove any seeds.
- In a large saucepan, bring water, water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Then, reduce the heat to a medium low simmer.
- While your simple syrup and plain water are coming to a boil, chop off and discard both ends of your lemons. Thinly slice the lemon as evenly as possible using a mandolin or sharp knife. To ensure an even cook cut each slice as uniformly as possible.
- Remove any seeds.
- Next, reduce the heat to a medium low simmer and gently add your lemon slices in a single layer. Do not crowd the pot or allow the slices to overlap.
- Use tongs to turn the slices over a few times until they appear translucent and the rinds soften. This usually takes between 15-20 minutes.
- Once the slices have reached the appropriate texture and have a glassy-like look, remove the pot from the heat.
- (P.S: Save the syrup for your next batch, sweeten your ice tea, or drizzle over salads).
- Allow your slices to completely cool, uncovered, for 24 hours or until completely dry.
- When the slices are fully dried, dip both sides in sugar and enjoy a sweet citrus and chewy treat!
How can I tell when my candied lemon slices are completely dry and ready?
Completely dried lemon slices should be leathery and pliable. Successful drying conditions depend on heat, air dryness, and good air circulation. Usually, this takes about 24 hours. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has an outstanding guide to drying fruits.