Dried citrus zest is a perfect way to save citrus rind/peel. When you grow organic citrus fruit, it’s a shame (or a sin) to throw away the beautiful peel!
My mother kept grating the zest from my navel oranges and Meyer lemons and freezing it in little packages when she was here over the winter.
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However, one day it occurred to me as she was making something “citrus”, that it would be great to dehydrate the zest instead of freezing it. So we gave it a try, and in only minutes, the zest was dry and ready to be stored!
It can be used “as is”, but you could also put it in a mortar and pestle to powder the zest. We’ve since used it in cakes, cookies, and even to decorate kumquat cupcakes.
It couldn’t be any easier, just grate, dry and store! If you don’t have a dehydrator, just put the zest in the oven after it’s cooled significantly after use. How great would a little jar of zest be as a gift, too? Possibilities are endless.
Dried Citrus Zest
recipe by Christina Conte
- your choice of organic, oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit
Special equipment: fine grater like these
pic of lemon and graters
Carefully grate the zest from the fruit and place on a parchment paper lined baking tray.
Place in oven on dehydrate setting, or when almost cool after being in use. Check after 10 minutes, mix if needed, keep in until crisp and dry. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. Remove from oven when dry and crisp. We did orange and lemon on the same tray here.
Cool completely before placing in a completely dry, airtight container.
Store in pantry or decorate with a ribbon and/or label and give as gifts.
Dried Citrus Zest (What to do With Citrus Rind/Citrus Peel)
Dried citrus rind from organic fruit for use in baking, or as a lovely food gift.
- organic citrus fruit
- (oranges, lemons, grapefruit or limes)
- Carefully grate the zest from the fruit and place on a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- Place in oven on dehydrate setting, or when almost cool after being in use. Check after 10 minutes, mix if needed, keep in until crisp and dry. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. Remove from oven when dry and crisp.
- Store in airtight container.
Special equipment needed: fine grater
Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1/16 tsp
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 5Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
27 of the Best Citrus Recipes!
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This looks good. But how do I use it? do I need to re-hydrate it before putting in, say, Persian pilaf (Shirin Polo) or other items that would taste good with it? do you have recipes that use it? thank you! Carel
Hi Carel, you could rehydrate it if you like, but I use it in cakes, cookies that I want some citrus flavor in. When it calls for grated peel, and you don’t have a fresh lemon or orange, use this. I also use it to decorate the tops of cakes, but could easily be used in savory dishes too. Use it however you like! :)
Thank you! I’ll try it rice.r It should re-hydrate during the cooking. What a great thing to have on hand.
Exactly! Yes, and no throwing away the rind! :)
I like to throw some rinds in hot tea. Adds a nice flavor.
I love this idea for co-worker gifts … a few orange or lemon zest cookies, a small bottle of dehydrated orange or lemon zest and maybe the recipe all tied together with ribbon.
That sounds wonderful, and a much appreciated gift, I’m sure! I wish more people would make gifts like these vs. buying useless plastic knick knacks that are made by huge factories overseas, Kristen. Good for you! Take a photo and share if you do this!
How long will dried orange or lemon zest last stored this way? Thank you
I have kept some for over 2 years, but obviously it loses its flavor over time. :)
I have dried herbs from my garden in the microwave and it worked fine. You just have to do it in small increments. I’m going to try it with some lemon zest I just did.
I was wondering about after-storage. After being dried, does it still need to be refrigerated, or will it be okay at room temp?
No refrigerating necessary as long as the rind is completely dehydrated, Emily. :)
What great suggestions! And a fantastic gift idea! TY!
I love the intense flavor zest gives lemon meringue pie but I don’t care for the chunky coconut-like texture. If I dried the zest and ground it up would I still get the intense flavor of fresh zest?
Hi Shelly, what I do is use it in a mortar and pestle right before I use it. It definitely brings out the flavor/aroma! CC
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