Drying Citrus Peels to Reduce Food Waste

by | Feb 4, 2021 | Tips And Techniques, Trends | 0 comments

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:

  1. Use any variety of organic or unsprayed citrus – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, pomelos
  2. Wash the fruit thoroughly with a vegetable brush. Dry with a clean towel.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. 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.
  5. Spread the peels in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

photo: Pixabay/esudroff

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