Make Your Own Citrus Zest

Have you seen a recipe calling for citrus zest and wondered, “What the heck is that?” It can sometimes be frustrating to find it in the store, and when you do the price tag can be a little shocking. Today, we are going to explain how easy it is to make your own citrus zest.

Orange Zest, citrus zest or citrus powder are interchangeable terms all referring to a similar product – to simplify we use the term ‘citrus zest’. Be warned: while one can use lemon juice, or frozen orange juice concentrate to replace the zest requested in the recipe – because these are wet ingredients it can affect the consistency of the recipe. Dehydrated zest will absorb, rather than contribute moisture to the recipe. Fresh zest will have a more vibrant flavor but is very difficult to keep on hand and may result in more food waste – if the fruit isn’t consumed in a timely fashion.

Like Cajun seasoning, hot sauce or paprika, zest is used to bring out other flavors. It will also add a light citrus scent to cake or muffins. Citrus is known to condition flour, and that is why we have it listed in most of our baking recipes in our book From One Small Garden – Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes.

Most varieties of oranges, lemons and lime can be made into citrus zest. You have the option of combining them in one jar, or keep separate jars for each type of zest (lime zest is particularly useful for Mexican recipes)… it is up to you.

Wash the fruit before peeling, then chop the peel and allow to air dry on some paper towels somewhere out of the way, dark and airy. You may find it useful to turn on a fan to help circulate the air in that room. A benefit here is the house will have a nice scent while dehydrating the peels. You can also use a food dehydrator on the “herb” setting if you have one.

Once dry, add no more than a cup of the peels at a time into a blender or a grinder and process into a powder. Store in sealed jars as you would spices or herbs. Sprinkled a little on chicken or fish before baking. Place a pinch or two of it in a stir-fry. If a recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. citrus juice and a glance in the fridge reveals there isn’t any, and no frozen juice concentrate to substitute either – simply add a tsp. of citrus powder.

Article Source by Dave Brummet

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