As a child I would watch my mother baking in the kitchen, all the while waiting for her to call me over – her “little helper”. How I loved to watch my mother bake, I was amazed as she created works of art. One of my favorite desserts she would make was a sweet of the spoon, in Greece called “γλυκο του κουταλιου”, where she simmered assorted fruit peels into a delectable dessert.
As a Greek tradition, it is customary to offer this luscious spoon sweet to your guest upon arriving, served alongside water and Greek coffee. My mother carried this tradition well into my adulthood. Today for #citruslove I am inviting you into my kitchen and passing along this beautiful tradition, serving you “Gliko Koutaliou Portokali” also known as “Orange Peel Sweet of the Spoon”.
Here’s what you’ll need…
Makes 2 – 12 ounce mason jars of sweet preserves
8 navel oranges
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Preparing the orange peel:
Clean by washing and brushing your oranges. Slice and remove the peel in strips, removing all of the oranges external rind using a knife or a peeler. There’s no need to remove all the pith, keeping some of the pith adds to the flavor. Continue to cut the orange peel rind into 1/2 inch thin strips – julienne style. (save the inside of the orange for eating, smoothie or juicing).
Note: Traditionally in Greece when preserving large strips of fruit peels, like oranges, grapefruits and watermelons, it’s routine to sew and thread the fruit rinds into a circle, similar to the photo below. I also used a skewer to speed up the process, though this leaves large holes in your fruit.
Place the peels in a large saucepan with enough cold water, be sure to cover about 2 inches. The peels will naturally want to float to the top so I placed a dish atop to fully submerge them in the water. Let soak for 12 hours or overnight. You will need to pour the water out, rinse the orange peels and refill saucepan with cold water. Repeat this process approximately every 4 hours.
After the peels have soaked, pour out the water, rinse the peels and refill saucepan with water. Place saucepan on stove at medium high heat and bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes from when water begins to boil. Drain and rinse the peels with cold water. Repeat boiling and rinsing process two additional times for three minutes each time. Rinse the orange peels and strain in colander removing excess water.
In order to remove excess moisture, place orange peels on a flat surface atop of a towel to dry anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Preparing the sweet of the spoon:
Place sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add orange peels and allow to simmer on a low boil for 20 minutes until a syrup begins to form and thickens slightly. My mother wanted me to tell you – it should be thick like honey, enough to coat your spoon, hence sweet of the spoon. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, add the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, stir until combined.
Allow to cool completely before storing in sterilized jars. Since I was serving this for a dinner party and gave some as party favors in small 4 ounce jars, I bypassed the canning process.
There are so many ways to serve this luscious sweet syrupy dessert – with a scone, on toast or simply by the spoonful. Do as the Greeks do and serve it as your first course at a dinner party. But… this Greek got adventurous and served dessert last, graciously set atop a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a pistachio orange oatmeal cookie – (recipe soon to follow). I wanted my guests blabbering sweet nothings at their departure.
I’m part of bloghop, where the food blog community connects with other blogs to share recipes and spread the love. This month, January is #citruslove month!
You’re more than welcome to join us in #citruslove fun by simply adding your recipe at the end of this bloghop! Be sure to link back to this post, so that your readers know to stop by the #citruslove event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove – have Fun & OPA!
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38 thoughts on “Citrus Love with Orange Peel ‘Sweet of the Spoon’”
This sounds delicious:)
Oh my!These look absolutely delicious and your pics are fantastic!Thanks for sharing 🙂
What a lovely story and tradition! The orange peels look so pretty on the skewers too. Happy to join you in this months #citruslove!
That sounds so good, we did it once with citrus rind, and it was good. But yours looks amazing.
This is so interesting. I’ve made dry candied peel a few times now, but I’ve not come across this way of serving them wet & in their syrup – they look delicious.
Our family was loved on by your hospitality, let alone these treats! Thanks for an amazing evening of spectacular company. Love you!
What a beautiful and delicious tradition! That’s the perfect welcome! And does indeed make the perfect topping for a scoop of ice cream.
What a lovely dessert – the story made me feel all fuzzy inside 🙂 Thanks for sharing it!
What a great way of using the peels! Am sure it’ll be great if we used sweet of the spoon in a cake too!
This sounds really tasty! I’ve never made or had anything like it but I can imagine how amazing it would be with greek yogurt. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
I had no idea about this Greek tradition, thanks for telling us in such great detail! Sounds delicious and lots of ways to serve it. Great photos!
I’m not the only one learning about this tradition! thanks for sharing. Love the picture tutorial 🙂
What a lovely tradition. I love learning about different cultures foods and how they are served. My most cherished memories are watching my mother cook and excited to be her helper too! I bet these taste fabulous!
I just made some orange peels with the leftover orange peels from all of my citrus recipes. Now that I know how to make them, I’m going to try threading them into the curl shapes. Very pretty. Thanks for sharing your story about your childhood too!
It’s lovely to hear about this Greek tradition. It would be so nice to walk in to see you and get a taste of this orange peel sweet of the spoon and have a nice strong cup of Greek coffee with you. 🙂 Yay for #citruslove
What a simple idea that has been beautifully executed! I must try this and then use it to bake cookies. 🙂
so pretty and such a beautiful tradition. i bet it tastes amazing on the icecream! i have to make this!
What a delightful orange peel treat! It’s my first time ever to see this recipe. Glad to do citrus-love with you, Georgie! Cheers!
I had no idea about this tradition but I love it! I can only imagine how intense the final flavor is! What a lovely recipe.
What a delicious use of the peel…I can bet it taste divine.
So unique and fabulous!!! I’d love to make this for my mom…she’s a huge fan of candied orange peel, and this is even BETTER!!! Yum!
Oh wow, this looks and sounds divine. And thankfully it is easy enough for me to try. I ate sweet orange peels a very long time ago and still remember the taste
wow georgie! i had no idea that we could cook orange peels! the preserves look delicious! 😀 i want to visit greece one day~~ sending some #citruslove to you!
Candied peel is a fuss isn;t it?! but so worth it. Looks very tempting and delish. Love blog hopping with you all!
what an interesting post and tradition thanks for sharing it with us here on citruslove. I bet it is wonderful as an ice cream topper, beautiful photos!
oh wow, I have never heard of this, but I love it! What a fun healthy sweet treat:-) It was fun hosting citruslove with you! Hugs, Terra
I love cultural traditions and hand me down recipes so much. I adore this – I want to try it , I think it’s an amazing way to preserve & candy orange peel to be used in so many different applications! Even the name ‘sweet of the spoon’ makes my mouth water!
BTW, I was going to make a ravani soaked in orange syrup from a recipe I saw in a GH mag when I was a teen. I looked for the torn out page in my file..gone 😦 Any great recipes you know of for orange ravani?
Glad to co-host #citruslove with you!
thanks a lot for sharing! I would love to make them
What a great post and wonderful tradition. I enjoyed learning about it. Your pictures rock! (Tammie)
Thank you for sharing this family tradition, what a way to greet guests. I love candied orange peels and these are unique.
Thanks for sharing your tradition. And you are right this orange peel will compliment my icecream wonderfully…
These look so delicious!
a sweet memory shared with a sweet treat. I love reading about different country traditions.
Beautiful photos and lovely story. I want to try making this.
I made candied grapefruit peel not too long ago. This stuff is so beautiful when it’s done… Thanks for sharing the #citruslove@! 🙂
Thanks for the pictures showing how to prep the oranges, it is missing from all the other recipes I’ve seen but the most crucial bit! I was served this on yogurt in a family owned taverna on Corfu this summer and the guy was so pleased I enjoyed it – it was something his mother had made all his life and she now made it for his restaurant. Hoping I can do it justice this weekend when I make for a Greek themed dinner party.
Alyson, I’m so excited you’re making this delicious sweet. It’s pretty straightforward, time consuming and worth it. It’s been years since I blogged about food, mostly the website is a photo journal these days. Enjoy and please let me know if you have any questions.