G’shur Purtaghal (Candied Citrus Peels)


Candied Citrus Peel

If you’re interesting in trying something new to satiate your sweet tooth, look no further than G’shur Purtaghal, a treat popular among Iraqis.  G’shur Purtaghal, or Candied Citrus Peels, is easy to make and requires only fruit and sugar.  You can experiment with different varieties of citrus, including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes.  Best of all, you can package them in a creative way and give them alongside your traditional cookies and Christmas goodies to friends, family, and neighbors.

If you give one of these recipes a try, let us know how they turned out.

Recipe #1


  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • Water
  • 3½ cups sugar
  • Cooking spray


  1. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, carefully peel thin strips of grapefruit and orange rind (peel). Remove only the colorful part of the peel, leaving as much pith (the bitter white skin just under the peel) as possible. Save fruit for another use.
  2. Place the peels into a saucepan and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook over medium to high heat, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain in a strainer. Repeat this procedure 2 more times to remove the bitterness of the peel.
  5. Pour 1¼ cups water into medium saucepan. Add 1½ cups of the sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add peel.
  7. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the syrup is absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  8. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper and spray the waxed paper with the cooking spray.
  9. Arrange the peels on the papered cookie sheet and cool for at least 3 hours.
  10. Put remaining sugar into a plastic bag. Add the peels and shake until they are well covered.
  11. Place them an another piece of wax paper and let dry overnight.

Serves 6 to 8 as a snack.

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Recipe #2


8 oranges, 10 lemons, or 6 grapefruits*
6 cups sugar, plus more for rolling


  1. Cut ends off fruit, and halve fruit lengthwise.
  2. Insert the tip of a small paring knife carefully between fruit and pith about 1/2 inch deep and cut, following the shape of the fruit and keeping skin in one piece. Turn fruit on other end and repeat.
  3. Using fingers, gently pull the peel away. Reserve fruit for another use.
  4. Place citrus peel in a 6-quart pot; fill with enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Drain. Soak peel in cold water until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
  5. Using a melon baller, scrape the soft white pith from the peel, being careful not to tear or cut the skin.
  6. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into thin strips 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.
  7. Stir together sugar and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, about 8 minutes.
  8. Add strips and reduce heat to medium-low. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan. Simmer until strips are translucent and syrup thickens, about 40 minutes. Let the strips cool completely in syrup for 3 hours (or overnight). Strips can be refrigerated in syrup in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.
  9. For sugared peel, remove strips with a slotted spoon. Using fingers, wipe off as much excess syrup as possible, and roll strips in sugar. Let dry.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

*If using grapefruit, adapt the recipe since the fruit has more pith, which is bitter and must be completely removed. If making candied grapefruit, after scraping the pith from the peel (in Step 4), simmer peel for 20 minutes more, and repeat to remove remaining pith.

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