What is Orange Peel?
Orange peel is quite simply the whole peel of an orange, removed and dried. It’s a frequently used spice in Asian cooking where it primarily sweetens savoury dishes. In Europe it is more known for flavouring sweets and puddings, infusing an orangey flavour into any dish.
What does Orange Peel taste like?
Unsurprisingly orange peel tastes like oranges. It’s citric notes are more mellow than the whole fruit but still zingy. Orange peel is much less sweet than the rest of the orange, with a characteristic bitterness.
What is Orange Peel used for?
Orange peel can be used anywhere you want to bring notes of orange to a dish, similarly to how fresh citrus zest can be used. Throw it into a tangy sour soup like the Thai Tom yum to give it a citrus kick. If you’re looking to bring some sweetness and flavour to a rub or marinade, orange peel is an excellent option. In Chinese cuisine orange peel is often used to flavour meat dishes like tangerine beef. In the west that same orangey flavour is more familiar in sweet dishes. Orange peel can be used to infuse milk or other liquids with its flavour oils which in turn can then be used in a manner of sweet treats from orange crème cake to biscuits.
Orange Peel recipes
Names and Origins
There are thousands of different cultivars of orange citruses today but it is thought that the modern orange originated from a cross between a mandarin and a pomelo, one of the original wild citrus fruits from which most current cultivated citruses descend. The colour orange was actually named after the fruit, which in turn derives its name from the Dravidian languages of South Asia, “naranja” which meant orange tree.
The large-scale production of oranges started in the 10th century in the Iberian peninsula before being introduced to Sicily and other European countries. It soon became a favourite of many of the Royal families of Europe who constructed vast orangeries to satisfy their demand. Like other citrus fruits, oranges were used to ward off scurvy during the long voyages that explorers and traders alike undertook. Being carried around the world meant oranges quickly became well established across the world, arriving in every continent.
Just like the rest of the fruit, orange peel is absolutely packed with nutrients. While it is often discarded it has the same amount of vitamin c as the flesh and juice. It has high levels of fibre, potassium, magnesium and carotenoids.