To Candy any Root, Fruits, or Flowers

Sugared Plums

Baronial 12th Night 

In preparation for serving the dessert course at an upcoming SCA event I have been working with preserving a variety of roots, fruits and yes...earlier this year I preserved flowers (see: To Candy Flowers). So the method I am using is based on the method below:

Dissolve sugar, or sugar-candy in Rose-water, boyl it to an height, put in your roots, fruits or flowers, the syrup being cold, then rest a little; after take them out, and boyl the sirrup again, then put in more roots, &c. then boyl the syrup a third time to an hardness, putting in more Sugar, but not Rose-water put in the roots &c the syrup being cold, and let them stand till they candy (Markham).

I am not using rose water in my candying. I personally enjoy the taste of roses, and I also enjoy the scent that the rosewater gives to food when you use it. However, rose water is not a taste most people are familiar with and it is very much one of those like it/hate it tastes. I am cooking for a wide audience, which is the reason I am not using rosewater. I am also not boiling three times. I did use a very similar method last year to glace cherries. The entire process took nine days and the flavor of the fruit was very deep with a honey like flavor. If you can go this route, please do. Here is the method I am using.

To candy any roote, fruite or flower.

Dissolue Sugar, or sugar candy in Rose-water, boile it to an height, put in your rootes, fruits or flowers, the sirrop being cold, then rest a little, after take them out and boyle the sirrop againe, then put in more roots, &c. then boile the sirrop the third time to an hardnesse, put∣ting in more sugar but not Rose-water, put in the roots, &c. the sirrop being cold and let them stand till they candie. The English house-vvife Containing the inward and outward vertues which ought to be in a compleate woman. As her skill in physicke, surgery, cookery, extraction of oyles, banqueting-stuffe, ordering of great feasts, preseruing of all sorts of wines, conceited secrets, distillations, perfumes, ordering of wooll, hempe, flax, making cloth, and dying, the knowledge of dayries, office of malting, of oates, their excellent vses in a family, of brewing, baking, and all other things belonging to an houshold. A worke generally approued, and now the fourth time much augmented, purged and made most profitable and necessary for all men, and the generall good of this kingdome. By G.M. Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637.

Interpreted Recipe

1-2 pounds of peeled, cored and sliced fruit or roots (I have candied plums, apples, pears, cantaloupe, ginger, orange and lemon peels, dried figs, cherries, beets, parsnips, yellow and orange carrots)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup honey or corn syrup
1 cup water

Heat your sugar, honey (or corn syrup) and water to 235 degrees. Add your fruit and cook for 20 minutes. Most fruits will become transparent in the process. Do NOT let your temperature rise above 235 degrees. After fruit has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from syrup and place on a screen to dry.

Candied Figs, Ginger and Red Anise Seed Comfits

When I start the process of boiling the sugar I preheat my oven to the lowest temperature available and then turn it off when it is heated. After the fruit has been removed to the screen, I place the fruit in the heated oven and leave it overnight. Your fruit should be dry to the touch, if not, flip the fruit over on the screen and allow for continued drying. 

Some observations on the things that I have recently candied: 

Cantaloupe took four days to completely dry, pears and plums took three days.
If you are using dried fruit (like figs or apricots) you must first rehydrate them in warm water.
Make sure the fruit is dry when you add it to the sugar syrup.
A dip in temperature after fruit is added is normal.
The more humid it is, the less likely fruit will dry as expected-don't worry-it will get there.

Works Cited

Markham, G. (n.d.). Countrey Contentments, or the English Huswife: containing the Inward and Outward Vertues which ought to be in a Compleate Woman, 1623 London. Retrieved August 30, 2015, from LSE Library: