How It’s Made: Candied Fruit


♪♪ Narrator: CANDIED FRUIT
AND FRUIT JELLIES ARE MIDDLE EASTERN IN ORIGIN AND SPREAD TO EUROPE
AROUND THE 12th CENTURY. THIS REGION OF FRANCE
HAS BEEN PRODUCING THEM SINCE THE 15th CENTURY. WHEN WARS BLOCKED ACCESS
TO CANE SUGAR, FRUIT FARMERS BEGAN
PLANTING SUGAR BEETS TO PRESERVE THIS
CONFECTIONERY TRADITION. THIS COMPANY IN FRANCE HAS BEEN
CATERING TO PEOPLE’S SWEET TOOTH SINCE 1880 WITH ITS GIFT BOXES CONTAINING TRADITIONAL CANDIED
FRUIT AND FRUIT JELLIES. TO MAKE CANDIED FRUIT, A MASTER
CONFECTIONER BOILS FRESH FRUIT FOR MANY HOURS
TO SOFTEN THE FIBERS. THIS PROCESS WILL LATER HELP
SUGAR TO PENETRATE THE FRUIT. HE POKES THE FRUIT TO SEE
IF IT’S READY. BOILING TIME VARIES
FROM ONE HOUR FOR APRICOTS TO EIGHT HOURS FOR CHESTNUTS. CITRUS FRUITS ARE SLICED
BEFORE BOILING. AFTER BOILING, THE MORE
FRAGILE TYPES OF FRUIT, SUCH AS APRICOTS,
PEARS AND CLEMENTINES, GO INTO LARGE HOT-AIR
DEHYDRATORS FOR UP TO THREE WEEKS. EVERY DAY, THE MASTER
CONFECTIONER REPLACES THE EVAPORATED WATER
WITH SUGAR SYRUP, WHICH CONCENTRATES OVER TIME. FOR LESS FRAGILE FRUITS,
THE TECHNIQUE IS DIFFERENT. WORKERS HEAT THEM IN VATS OF
SUGAR SYRUP FOR ABOUT 10 DAYS. THE MOISTURE EVAPORATES,
AND THE SYRUP CONCENTRATES. THE FACTORY SELLS
WHOLE CANDIED FRUITS LIKE THIS COLLECTION
OF CLEMENTINES, APRICOTS, PEARS, FIGS,
AND PLUMS, TO GOURMET FOOD SHOPS, WHICH SELL THEM BY THE PIECE
OR IN ELEGANT, PRIVATE-LABEL GIFT BOXES. ♪♪ WHOLE CANDIED FRUIT
ARE ALSO POPULAR FOR DESIGNING
EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS. MAKING FRUIT JELLIES
IS A DIFFERENT PROCESS. THE RECIPE COMBINES FRUIT PULP, MAKING UP MORE THAN
50% OF THE MIXTURE, WITH POWDERED SUGAR,
LIQUID GLUCOSE, A FORM OF PLANT SUGAR, PECTIN TO MAKE
THE MIX GELATINOUS, AND NATURAL FRUIT FLAVORING. A WORKER BOILS DOWN THE MIX
FOR A HALF-HOUR TO CONCENTRATE THE SUGAR, THEN ADDS MORE FRUIT FLAVORING. AS THE MIX CONTINUES TO COOK, SHE DRAWS SAMPLES TO MEASURE
THE SUGAR CONTENT. SHE DOES THIS UNTIL THE MIX HITS ITS TARGET
CONCENTRATION OF 78%. ANOTHER WORKER POURS
THE BATCH FROM THE POT INTO A LARGE PITCHER, THEN INTO A SQUARE
STAINLESS-STEEL MOLD. IT TAKES THE JELLY A DAY TO SET. ONCE SET, A WORKER REMOVES IT
FROM THE MOLD — THIS ONE’S
A DIFFERENT FLAVOR — AND COATS IT WITH CRYSTALLIZED
SUGAR TO PRESERVE IT. THE WORKER THEN LAYS
THE JELLY SQUARE ON A CUTTER THE COMPANY CALLS A GUITAR BECAUSE ITS STEEL WIRES
LOOK LIKE GUITAR STRINGS. THE WIRES CUT ONCE IN EACH
DIRECTION TO MAKE CUBES. THEN, ANOTHER WORKER APPLIES
A SECOND COATING OF SUGAR. IN ADDITION TO THIS
SMALL-BATCH PRODUCTION, THE FACTORY
HAS ONE AUTOMATED MACHINE, WHICH MAKES FRUIT JELLIES IN A VARIETY OF GEOMETRIC
OR FRUIT SHAPES CREATED BY TEMPLATES
MADE OF PLASTER. THIS PROCESS IS MUCH FASTER
THAN THE HANDMADE APPROACH. FIRST, THE MACHINE
MAKES A BED OF STARCH. THEN IT PRESSES
THE PLASTER FORM INTO THE BED TO CREATE MOLD CAVITIES. ♪♪ THE NEXT STATION FILLS
THE CAVITIES WITH HOT LIQUID FRUIT JELLY. THEN, THE MOLDS
ARE SET ASIDE FOR A DAY. THE STARCH ABSORBS THE RESIDUAL
MOISTURE AS THE JELLY SETS. THE NEXT DAY,
WORKERS LOAD THE MOLDS ON TOP OF THE SAME MACHINE, WHICH FLIPS THEM TO DUMP OUT
THE JELLIES. THE JELLIES TUMBLE DOWN
A VIBRATING CONVEYOR BELT. THE STARCH SHAKES OFF
WITH EACH BOUNCE. THEN THEY PASS
UNDER A SPINNING BRUSH, WHICH REMOVES
ANY REMAINING STARCH. THE CONVEYOR MOVES THEM
INTO A ROTATING DRUM, WHICH SHOWERS THEM WITH SUGAR. ON THE PACKAGING LINE,
A SLOW CONVEYOR BELT MOVES RETAIL BOXES
IN FRONT OF A ROW OF WORKERS. EACH WORKER IS RESPONSIBLE
FOR A SINGLE FLAVOR. WHILE PLACING THE REQUIRED
NUMBER OF FRUIT JELLIES IN THE BOX, SHE ALSO PERFORMS
A QUALITY CONTROL CHECK, REMOVING AND REPLACING
ANY THAT ARE MISSHAPEN. THIS ENSURES THAT THESE
TRADITIONAL FRUIT JELLIES LOOK AS GOOD AS THEY TASTE.