Back in the 1600s orange trees were planted here at Hagbeach Hall, in a large orangerie. It's entirely likely the orangerie was built specifically to house them. In 1806, when the big house was burned down leaving only the stable block and coach house (currently my home) standing, it appears the orangerie, a construction some way away from the house which would have been made of brick, glass and stone was also undamaged. And so it must have remained for a couple of decades with the then nearly 200 year old orange trees surviving. These trees were bought by Lord Peckover and moved to Peckover House in Wisbech a mile or two away where they continued to be cared for to this day. Last year I went to see them and learned of the receipt that is now held at Peckover for the purchase of the trees.They are now over 300 years old gnarled and twisted into the most beautiful shapes.So I imagine oranges of some variety or other have been enjoyed here for a very long time. The orange trees at Peckover
Making candied peel is incredible simple, you just have to have the right peel, this means peel that is thick from the start, so those fruit which feel unnervingly light for their size are probably going to deliver. When I was a child, our mother would give my brother and me a navel orange each after supper at this time of year. We would sit by the fire, she would hand us both an orange with its top sliced off and a teaspoon. I don't know if it was so that the whole process of eating our treat would take a lot longer than if the orange was simply peeled, but it felt very special. These days I take the smallest slice off the peel at both ends then score it down a bit like the staves of a wooden barrel. This way the peel can be taken off easily and in a good shape to turn into candied peel.
Emneth Worthies recipe
As well as soaking the golden raisins in Di Saronno see update I added 50ml of the orange syrup to the soaking liquer and doubled the quantity of dried fruit.
Notes: Grapefruit, especially pink grapefruit and of course lemons are excellent for candied peel, choose fruit which feels worryingly light for the size, a sure sign the peel is thick.