Intro: Filleting an Orange
Once you have learned the trick of filleting an orange, you will be able to do it quickly and neatly. I am out of practice but the skill is still there. Once you have the meat of the orange without the connecting membranes, you can use the oranges in many ways and don't forget the orange skins. I will tell you how to use them too.
Step 1: All You Need Is an Orange and an Knife
It is best if you use an organic orange as the regular oranges may have pesticide residue etched into the skin of the orange. I prefer a serrated knife for the filleting. This technique is transferable to grapefruit, lemons and limes as well.
Step 2: Removing the Skin
I have drawn lines to indicate where I cut. I begin by cutting a circle around the very top and the very bottom of the orange to remove the two ends. Then I run the knife tip down as indicated by the lines shown.
I remove the skin with my fingers. You may need to run the knife under the skin to help free it from the orange.
When you have removed all of the wedges of skin, put them aside.
Now take the orange and with the aid of the knife peel it away as well so that you will be able to see the inner membrane.
Once that is done, split the orange into two halves.
Step 3: Now the Actual Filleting
Cut off the two end, the top and the bottom.
Cut away the outer membrane.
Once the outside membrane is removed, insert the knife tip between the side membrane and the meat of the orange. When the tip is between them carefully pull the meat away from the membrane, inserting more of the knife blade as the two separate. When the knife blade can be flat against the membrane, rotate the blade at the bottom of the meat bringing it up between the meat and the membrane on the other side.
When the meat is free, put it aside and insert the knife tip between the next membrane and the meat and proceed separating the meat and the membrane and them when the blade is lying along side of the meat at the bottom of the meat, rotate the blade and peel the meat away from the membrane on the other side. Continue this until all of the meat has been released and you have the meat and the membranes separated.
Now the meat can be used in a salad or to decorate an orange cake or a ham.
Step 4: Candied Orange Peel
Now you can take the stack of orange peel and candy it. Then it can be used to decorate or served as a delicious treat.
First you can remove some or all of the white material. I like to use a knife and laying it flat on the skin, carve the white material away. Some people like to use a vegetable peeler but I prefer a knife. Here I have removed virtually all of the white material.
I then cut the skin into the shape I want it to be. I have cut some in strips to use on a cake, and some others I have cut into wedges and others I have chopped up for use in muffins or a cake.
There are many ways to candy the peel but most of the different ways are just more precise versions of the basic method.
The first stage is to put the strips or wedges into cold water and boil them for about 10 minutes. I prefer using the microwave and cook them for 2 minutes
You can do this step 2 or 3 times. If you are doing grapefruit, you might want to do this step 7 or 8 times. This step draws out the bitter taste. I find that the less white material left on the skin, the less times this step is needed.
You can taste test to see if you are satisfied with the level of bite left.
I will continue with the microwave method.
Take a 2 quart bowl and fill it with water and sugar. I use the rule of thumb of 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar for each large orange. Basically you want the sugar bath to cover the skins. I then heat the water and sugar long enough to melt the sugar, about 3 minutes. Then insert the skins into the solution and cook for 4 minutes or more depending on how thick the skins are and how much white material is left on the skins. The skins should be sort of transparent.
Then remove the skins with a slotted spoon and lay them on a rack over a cookie pan to drain. Then they need to dry. This can take 24 hours or so depending on the thickness and the dryness of their environment. A hair dryer can be used to hasten the drying. I do not recommend drying them in the oven as this can make them crisp or even hard.
Some people roll the skins in sugar but I do not do that.
They can be kept for a few days to 3 weeks depending on the method of storage.
I candy only the amount that I need so I am not too sure about the storage.
Once dry the strips and wedges can be dipped in chocolate for a delicious treat.
Step 5: Making a Salad or Decorating a Cake
Whatever you want to do with the orange, you will find that salads are nicer with the membranes removed and of course the appearance on a cake really calls for the "skinned" orange segments.