Eshr L Bortoaan


Leftovers from orange jam-making turn into another sweet treat thanks to a grandmother’s love and ingenuity



This dish makes life a little bit sweeter. In my most recent series, I’ve been looking for zero-waste recipes. This type of cooking focuses on sustainable methods and creative ways to use ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. So far in the series, I’ve got to experience four fabulous savory recipes, but I’m thrilled to find this sweet submission.

Eshr l Bortoaan is an orange peel candy made throughout Egypt. For Yasmin, however, the best orange peel candy could always be found at her grandmother’s house. Growing up in Cairo, Egypt, Yasmin has fond memories of her grandmother making homemade orange jam. The jam was a great way to use up extra oranges, but always left Yasmin’s grandmother with tons of peels. Rather than throw away all of the peels, Yasmin’s grandmother would turn the scraps into Eshr l Bortoaan. Yasmin’s family would eat the candy with tea or coffee or serve to special guests.

Yasmin shared this recipe as a way to show appreciation for her grandmother, who was sustainably cooking before it was cool. And while this dish is worth the time and effort, it’s still a labor of love. You’ll start by removing all of the piths from the orange peels with a sharp knife, which is easier said than done. But once you have clean orange peels, you can turn them into thinly sliced strips. Then, boil the peels in water, sugar, lemon juice, cloves, and almonds until the peels have lost all of their bitterness and only taste sweet.

When the peels are finished, let them cool on a piece of parchment paper and then roll them in one last round of sugar – just to be safe. The final candy is a chewy delight with a delicate and aromatic quality. Even though the base of this is orange peel, you’d never know it. There isn’t a hint of peel bitterness, only a sharp citrus flavor that’s cut perfectly by all the sugary goodness.

Eshr l Bortoaan does involve some expert knife skills, but I love the fun and unique result. With Eshr l Bortoaan, zero-wate cooking never tasted so sweet.

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Eshr L Bortoaan


  • 2 sweet orange peels
  • 1 cup sugar plus extra
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cloves
  • almonds optional


  • Cut the white pith away from the orange peel. This is the bitter part we want to do best to remove as completely as possible. Soak the peels in water (neutral not cold or hot) for an hour then wash it again and keep washing them 4 times or 5 to get rid of any bitterness inside it.
  • Then cut each piece lengthwise in half to be like the French fries.
  • In a pot add the sugar and the water and the cloves and lemon and the peels and let it simmer on low heat until the mixture is thick and the peel is soft and edible and sweet (you have to taste it to know).
  • After that take the peels out of the pot and make sure you get rid of any excess of the syrup on it. If using, roll each piece around a whole almond and close it with a toothpick. Final touch which is to roll it in coarse sugar for extra sweetness.


Note from Yasmin: The lemon juice's role is to control the thickness of the sugar syrup. Make sure you add enough so that the final candy doesn't get too hard. Also try not to cook the peels too long, this will also result in a too-hard candy.
Course: Dessert
Region: Asia


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