The final product is sweet with lots of yuja flavor. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)

My quest for fun, tasty alternative uses for 유자 yuja (Asian citron, a.k.a. yuzu in Japanese) and the yuja marmalade commonly used to make the hot drink 유자차 yujacha turns again to a sweet treat from the rind, candied yuja peels.

The earliest record of candied fruits goes back to the 14th century, according to Wikipedia. Candied peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, citrons and lemons were popular in both Europe and Western Asia during the Middle Ages. Arabs call them g’shur purtaghal.

The technique of boiling fruits and/or their peels in sugar syrup preserves the fruit and the rinds from spoiling. In other words, it was a practice of necessity in a seemingly bygone era when “waste not, want not” was a respected maxim. 

During the Middle Ages, only the very wealthy — who could afford sugar and citrus fruits — enjoyed candied fruit on a regular basis. Today, thanks to refrigeration and year-long access to many kinds of citrus fruits from various exotic locales, the rich and not-so-rich alike can create and enjoy this recipe.

This recipe was inspired by Closet Cooking‘s recipe for candied orange peel.

Candied yuja peels are delicious by themselves as a little snack or dessert, but they are also delicious dipped in chocolate. They would also make a wonderful garnish for your favorite brownies.