Candied fruit lovers, standing by the glass case with bright glazed fruit, are often guided by the wrong considerations when making a purchase decision.
Why? Let's figure it out.
Look carefully at the packaging. In it you can see bright salad or bright red cubes. Do you think it is candied kiwi or strawberry? You are mistaken.
Most likely, it is a citrus, or pineapple, or other fruit, easily amenable to drying or glazing. Kiwi does not make candied fruit; strawberries become brown when dried and glazed. Under the guise of these fruits are sold, soaked in food dyes, various substitutes, and still very lucky if the seller instead of kiwi colors pineapple, and not cheap vegetables, from which you can also make candied fruits, giving them the desired color and appropriate smell.
Try such candied fruit dipped in a glass of hot water, but be prepared for unexpected effects: dyeing water in different colors, floating up to the surface of flakes of unknown origin. Finally, purchased candied fruits can completely dissolve and disappear, because gelatin tends to dissolve in hot water.
Hence the classic question, what to do? If you really like candied fruit, then the only way out is to cook candied melon at home. And not only from a melon!
Both watermelon and orange peels will do, everything that will be useful and tasty. Let this be a very troublesome task, but labor will be rewarded in full with really useful billets, in which there is neither chemistry nor deception.
Homemade melted candied fruits - basic technological principles
To avoid mistakes and annoying misunderstandings in the cooking process, you need to carefully study the technology of industrial preparation of candied fruits, in relation to home conditions, a little to understand the biochemical properties of fruits, in particular - melons. In short, that was not worse, but better than in the store. The main thing is to understand how this happens at the molecular level. Do not worry, it is not difficult. Candied - dried fruits, glazed in sugar. More specifically, drying is the final stage of their preparation. First, fruits or vegetables are boiled in sugar syrup, gradually increasing its concentration. This is done in order to reduce the content of the cell juice of the fruit to the minimum content. How it works?
Sugar syrup is a denser liquid mass than juice. Therefore, during heating, it penetrates into the fruit, displacing the juice. The process of replacing fruit juice with a thicker mass containing the minimum amount of liquid occurs. In addition, after cooling, the sugar crystallizes again, and the fruit pieces become more dense. This whole process is nothing but cooking jam, but the initial stage.
Unlike melon jam, in which the pieces are stored in syrup, the future candied fruits are extracted from it, dried, and then immersed again in a syrup that is even more dense than during the first cooking. The substitution process takes place again, and again the drying.
Prepared pieces of fruit should be lowered into the boiling syrup. Therefore, the melon must be pre-blanched and cooled. Juice boils faster than syrup, and boiling juice prevents syrup from entering the intercellular space of the fetus. For the same reason, the process of cooking the fruit in the syrup must be repeatedly interrupted, each time immersing the cooled slices in a thicker syrup.
Blanching of fruits is necessary in order to preserve the integrity of the fruits. In this part of the fruit juice goes into the water, and the fiber is compacted, changing its structure; at the same time, in the process of blanching, the extracellular space is expanded, which facilitates the access of the boiling syrup inwards. Blanching time - 4-6 minutes. In a production environment, burned alum is added to blanching water. This technique can be fully used at home, but not for melon and citrus fruits: these fruits are blanched in plain water. It is difficult to count how many times it is necessary to boil and dry. Everyone chooses the fruit at their discretion, and they have a different degree of ripeness, density, each fruit is cut differently (coarse or fine). Even the variety is important in the processing of fruits, because the structure of fiber in each variety is usually different. Therefore, the question of how many times it is necessary to boil and dry candied melon at home, decide individually, and you need to focus on the remaining moisture, which should be no more than 20%. True, too too dry fruit is not worth it.
If you want to melted candied fruits at home were as bright as on the supermarket shelves, you can always color them yourself, but using natural food colors: currant juice, beets, carrots, strawberries, spinach, blueberries, saffron powder or turmeric (Indian saffron). Simply add these ingredients to the cooking syrup. At home you can add flavor to melon candied fruits using spicy spices and fruit extracts.
The benefits of such candied fruit can be no doubt. Just do not get carried away - a lot of sugar is harmful to use, but otherwise candied fruits retain all the beneficial properties of the fruits from which they are prepared.
1. Homemade melted candies - a classic recipe
Melon (pulp) 2.0 kg
Citric acid 3 g
or lemon juice 300 ml
Water 800 ml
Sugar 2.4 kg
Lemon peel (optional)
Technical candied melons are suitable for candied fruit, even if they are not sweet. The flesh should be firm. Cut it and blanch in boiling water. Chill.
Prepare syrup from water and sugar. Acid should be added only at the last cooking in syrup. In the boiling syrup of medium density, lower the slices of blanched melon and cook on low heat for no more than five minutes, remove the dishes from the stove. Throw melon slices into a colander, let drain the syrup. Spread the pieces on the prepared sheet. You can dry them in the oven, heated to 40-50 ° C, for 4-6 hours, or in the open air, for 12 hours. Avoid drying in direct sunlight. It is desirable that candied fruits lay in a draft and be protected from dust, insects. Repeat boiling and drying, achieving the necessary consistence. Add acid to the syrup for the last time, zest - melon is very tasty with sour.
2. Homemade melted candies - melon in coconut chips
Coconut 100 g
Melon (pulp) 1.0 kg (net)
Lemon juice 300 ml
Water 400 ml
Sugar 1.3 kg
The sequence of cooking candied melon at home is described in the classic cooking recipe (see above). The difference between the first and second method of cooking is to create a "zest". During the last cooking, instead of lemon peel, add coconut chips to turn the melon candied fruits into unprecedented exotic fruits.
3. Homemade melted candies - melon rinds in orange syrup
Composition of products:
Sugar 1.3 kg
Melon crusts 1.5 kg
Oranges, red 1.0 kg
Choose dense melon fruit, in the stage of technical ripeness. The flesh can be eaten or cooked jam. Wash and cut the rind. Cut it into slices or long rectangular plates. Blanch the prepared pieces in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Flip through the colander and cool.
Using a fine grater, remove the zest from the oranges, and then squeeze the juice from the fruit. It should make about 0.8 liters of juice. Place the zest in a container - it needs to be added to the syrup at the last stage of making candied melon at home. Pour the juice into a pan with a non-stick coating, add 800 g of sugar, and cook the orange syrup on the lowest fire until the sample is “medium string” (the syrup should be thick enough, not spread).
In a boiling syrup, lower the chopped melon rind and boil for 5-6 minutes. Remove the slices, let them drain, spread out in a single layer on a pan lined with foil. Heat the oven to 40-50 ° C. Maintain the oven temperature for 4-6 hours. Do not close the door. After turn off the heat and leave the candied until the next day. On the second day, boil the syrup, in which candied fruits were prepared to a thicker consistency, dip the dried slices into it and repeat the entire process of the previous day. At the last cooking of the syrup, add orange peel to it, and vanilla if desired. After 3-5 days, dry the fruit in a jar and tightly close them.
4. Homemade melted candied fruits - kaleidoscope
Juice, raspberry 200 ml
Saffron (or turmeric) 2 g
Bilberry juice 250 ml
Melon (without crusts) 3 kg
Oranges 0.7 kg
Spinach (fresh or frozen) 0.5 kg
Citric acid 15 g
Water 400 ml
Sugar 2.6 kg
Mint extract 5 ml
To make melon-colored candied fruits at home you will need a fruit syrup with various additives. Syrup will have to be cooked separately, in different dishes to get the desired colors. All other operations for making candied melon at home are similar to previous recipes.
Raspberry syrup (pink):
Combine the purified raspberry juice with 300 g of sugar. Boil as usual syrup to medium consistency. In the process of cooking do not forget to remove the foam, so that the syrup is transparent.
Similarly, prepare the syrup from blueberries (blue), Orange juice and zest (orange). Sugar add 100 - 150 g more than the volume of juice: when cooking candied fruit, the syrup will absorb melon juice and become less thick. Therefore, it is better to add sugar at once in a larger volume in order to preserve the necessary consistency. When boiling fruit syrup, the juice changes color. At the last brew, add a pinch of citric acid to each type of syrup: it will give a bright, more saturated color, and the candied fruits will be covered with glossy glaze and look like candy.
To get the yellow color, brew saffron in boiling water, strain and boil the syrup, adding sugar. Before cooking, add vanilla, lemon zest or other flavors as desired.
To make green syrup, chop the spinach and squeeze the juice under a press. Add boiled water to a volume of 250-300 ml, add sugar, boil the syrup until ready. After cooking, add mint drops for flavoring. Slice the melon randomly, in small pieces, divide by the number of variants of the prepared syrup and cook the candied fruit, as usual.
5. Homemade melon candies - real honey melon
Composition of products:
Pulp melon 1.5 kg
Buckwheat Honey 700 g
Citric acid 20-25 g
For the recipe you need two small melons: one is very ripe and soft, the other is a little immature.
Chop the ripe melon, and squeeze the juice through the gauze rolled up in several layers. The second fruit, more dense, cut into slices - cook candied fruit from it.
Smelt the melon juice 5 times to the volume reduction. Combine with honey and boil a thick syrup. During cooking, constantly remove the foam - the syrup should be transparent.
Next cook the candied fruits, according to the technology described in the basic technological principles.
6. Homemade melted candies - an unusual recipe
Composition of products:
Watermelon juice 400 g
Sugar 800 g
2.5 kg melon
Ripe watermelon flesh filter to transparency. Add sugar and boil the syrup, constantly removing the foam.
In this syrup, cook melon candied fruits, as described above, in recipes.
Homemade melted candies - tips and tricks
- From the pulp of a ripe, but dense and very sweet melon, you can make candied fruits without using sugar. Cut the dense pieces of pulp, put them in a pan (better - in a slow cooker) without water and simmer under a closed lid. After five minutes, fold the fruit through a colander. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet and leave to dry at room temperature. Drain the juice in a separate bowl. Stew the cooled melon pieces again, the same amount of time. Drain juice again. After the third time, pour all the separated juice into a saucepan and boil until thick. Put boiled melon pieces into boiling melon syrup and bring to a boil. Repeat this operation the next day. Dry the finished candied fruit and place in a jar, with a tight-fitting lid.
- Candied fruits make wonderful decorations for cakes, pies, and desserts. If you like to bake, then when preparing candied fruits, think over the cutting forms that will come in handy later when decorating. Melon can be cut into curly notches for cookies, or use carving knives. It will be ready-made decorations, which will only lay on the surface of the fruit cake.