Last year, I created an orange infused sugar, which rapidly became a staple on my counter. It is a simple recipe, just zested orange peel and sugar. It allows you to add a sweet orange zing to anything you are making—tea, breads, whatever—without have to go to all of the effort of finding an orange and zesting it on the spot. This always leaves you with the dilemma of: What do you do with the rest of the orange?
I have always made my orange sugar with Navel oranges, a certain California bias. I was at the market the other day and they had these really beautiful Mandarins. I was almost out of my last batch of sugar and I thought, “Why not?” Of such decisions, marvels are made.
Note: As this recipe suggests you do not have to use oranges. You can use any zest; lemon, lime, tangerine, whatever citrus fruit that pleases you.
Karl’s Mandarin Orange Infused Sugar
2 Tbs. zest from 2 Mandarin oranges
1 cup white granulated sugar
1. Zest the oranges completely and mix it into the sugar.
Tip: Use a Teflon spatula to chop and smear the clumps of zest to that they are evenly distributed through the sugar. When the zest is in meal bits and the sugar is fairly evenly orange it is ready.
2. Leave the bowl of sugar to sir dry for an hour, stirring it up occasionally.
Tip: This step is not really necessary, if you are in a hurry, but it prevents the sugar from clumping up as much in the jar.
3. Put the sugar in an air tight jar and let it sit for about a week.
Note: Once you zest an orange the complex compounds that make the peel bitter start to break down into smaller compounds that humans find flavorful.
4. Shake the jar about once a day to keep the sugar loose and separated. It will them be ready for any recipe that needs a quick boost of orange flavor.