Drying Citrus Peels to Reduce Food Waste
Winter is prime citrus time! In addition to using the vitamin and mineral-packed fruit and juice of these lovely gems, DRYING THE CITRUS PEELS can brighten your cooking year-round and help reduce food waste. Use organic citrus or those which have not been sprayed, since chemical sprays reside in the peels.
How to MAKE Dried Citrus Peels:
- Use any variety of organic or unsprayed citrus – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, pomelos
- Wash the fruit thoroughly with a vegetable brush. Dry with a clean towel.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Before cutting into the fruit to use for juice, trim the outer 1/16” or 1/8” of the colored part of the peel using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Avoid the white pith which is bitter.
- Spread the peels in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and dry the peels anywhere from 1 – 3 hours. Time will vary based on the size and moisture content of the peels. When finished, the peels will be stiff, very dry and curl a bit. If the peels start to brown while in the oven, rotate the pan, turn the oven off and allow the pan to remain inside until peels are fully dried.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely. Store the cooled peels in an airtight container for up to 12 months.
How to USE Dried Citrus Peels:
- Substitute 1 teaspoon dried peel for each tablespoon of fresh peel or zest in recipes – soups, stews, chili, casseroles, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and seafood
- Add zest or minced dried peel to salad dressings, vinaigrettes, sauces and marinades
- Use in baking – add chopped, minced or ground peels to batters, sprinkle on top of baked goods, add to pies, crisps or cobblers.
- Add thin strips to hot cider, tea, mulled wine, cocktails, homemade bitters or to infuse spirits
- Make Citrus Salt
Combine 1 tablespoon minced dried citrus peel (any single variety or combination) + 1/2 cup to 1 cup flaky sea salt, depending on desired flavor
- Make Lemon Pepper
Combine 2 tablespoons ground or minced lemon peel + 1 tablespoon ground pepper + 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, optional
- Make a Classic Gremolata
1 clove garlic
zest from 1 large lemon or 1/2 lemon + 1/2 orange
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Place all ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and combine completely. Allow to sit for at least one hour for flavors to blend. Drizzle as a condiment over roasted or braised dishes.
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photo: Unsplash/Dora Cavallo