Candied Fruit, Glacé Fruit, Crystallized FruitCandied fruit, also known as crystallized fruit or glacé fruit, has been around since the 14th century. Whole fruit, smaller pieces of fruit, or pieces of peel, are placed in heated sugar syrup, which absorbs the moisture from within the fruit and eventually preserves it. Depending on size and type of fruit, this process of preservation can take from several days to several months.
The continual process of drenching the fruit in syrup causes the fruit to become saturated with sugar, preventing the growth of spoilage microorganisms due to the unfavourable osmotic pressure this creates.
Fruits that are commonly candied include dates, cherries, pineapple, and ginger. The principal candied peels are orange and citron; these with candied lemon peel are the usual ingredients of mixed chopped peel (which may also include glacé cherries). The marron glacé is among the most prized of candied confections.
Recipes vary from region to region, but the general principle is to boil the fruit, steep it in increasingly strong sugar solutions for a number of weeks, and then dry off any remaining water.
Food preservation methods using sugar (palm syrup and honey) were known to the ancient cultures of China and Mesopotamia. However, the precursors of modern candying were the Arabs, who served candied citrus and roses at the important moments of their banquets. With the Arab domination of parts of southern Europe, candied fruit made its way to the West. The first documents that demonstrate the use of candied fruit in Europe date back to the sixteenth century. In Italy, they became a key ingredient of some of the most famous sweets of its culinary tradition: among these, the Milanese Panettone and the Cassata Siciliana.
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How to Make Candied Fruit