Citrus fruits peel, zest and rinds: ways to use up

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ways to Citrus peel, zest and rinds

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are a common ingredient in most pantries. They are tasty, are a great source of vitamins and smell amazing. The peels are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, antioxidant bioflavonoids, fibre, folate, calcium and many other nutrients. They have limonene, which has anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties. Packed with special oils and good-for-you stuff, they can make your food taste amazing. However, the peels are quite bitter and often get chucked in the bin. You can find many ways to use the peel and zest for recipes including one for drinks, cooking, desserts and baking. In this guide, we look at ways you can use up citrus fruits rind and peels.

Note: Always use organic citrus fruits for all these recipes. Remember to wash them well.

Dehydrated citrus peels

  1. Cut out the outer layer. Avoid the white pith as it is too bitter.
  2. Lay the strips on a baking tray
  3. Bake in an oven at 200 degrees for 30 mins
  4. Alternatively, leave them to dry in the sun for a few days.
  5. Use the dried peels in cocktails and mulled punches.
  6. Tea: to make a citrusy tea, mince the peels, then mix with black tea and other desired spices such as cardamom, lavender, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
  7. Dried peels can also be used as food seasoning in some asian cuisine.

Candied citrus peels:

  1. Select 3-4 best organic citrus fruits and thoroughly wash them.
  2. Cut the fruits, remove the pulp, and slice the peels into ¼ inch wide strips.
  3. Boil the peels in water for 15 minutes, then rinse to eliminate bitterness and drain well.
  4. In a pot, bring 1 cup of fresh water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Add citrus peels, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-60 minutes until peels are translucent and the syrup thickens.
  6. Remove excess syrup, and use it to add citrus flavour to drinks.
  7. Place hot, wet peels in sugar, toss/shake to coat, then spread on a wire rack to cool and dry for 1-2 days.
  8. Store candied citrus peels in an airtight container in a cool, dry place; lasts a month at room temperature or longer in the fridge.
  9. Use homemade candied orange peel in traditional recipes like German Stollen, Christmas Pudding, Lebkuchen, etc.
  10. Garnish pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and more; sprinkle over ice cream, yoghurt, or citrus-flavoured drinks.
  11. Chop finely and add to streusel topping or dip in chocolate for an elegant treat.

DIY lemon sugar:

  1. 1 cup of granulated sugar
  2. 2 tbsp of lemon zest. Choose fresh, firm lemons for optimal oil and fragrance. Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to obtain only the coloured part of the peel for zest.
  3. Combine the sugar and zest in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to distribute the lemon zest evenly.
  4. Rub the lemon zest and sugar together by hand, ensuring every grain of sugar is coated with aromatic lemon oils.
  5. Alternatively, use a food processor for a wet sandy mixture
  6. Store the lemon sugar in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.
  7. The infused lemon sugar can be used in lemon desserts, cookies, toast, tea, and as a topping for baked goods.

Citrus twists:

  1. Also known as citrus curls
  2. Wash your organic citrus fruit thoroughly
  3. To remove the colourful outer layer of the citrus peels
  4. Cut the fruit in half crosswise.
  5. Slice a ¼ ring from the thickest part (around the middle) of the citrus fruit
  6. At any point of the ring, make a slit in the peel
  7. Run your knife all the way around the citrus to remove one long strip of peel from the fruit.
  8. The pith or the white part on the peel can be bitter tasting. You need a little pith intact for the twist to hold its shape, trim the rest of the pith.
  9. Closer you get to the ends of the fruit the shorter the curls will be. You can create batches of different sized curls.
  10. Alternatively, you can use large hole zesters to extract the peels.
  11. Wrap the peel around the tip of a wooden spoon or a long skewer or chopstick making a spiral curl.
  12. Allow it to air dry for a few days. You can also bake it at low heat for about 30 mins.
  13. Use them as garnish for your cocktails and beverages.

Homemade Citrus-Infused Vodka/ Tequila:

Follow our easy to make guide on using citrus fruits such as Lime, Lemon, Key Lime, Orange and Grapefruit and infuse with vodka or tequila. Use the infusion for adding flavour to your cooking, baking or spicing up your cocktails.

Homemade Limoncello:

Limoncello is a classic Italian liqueur with an unmistakable lemon taste, made by infusing lemon peel in pure alcohol and then combining it with a simple syrup. Follow our easy to make guide on making homemade limoncello using citrus fruits such as lemons, Grapefruit, Oranges and Tangerines.

DIY Lemon Pepper:

  1. 5 large lemons
  2. 50g of peppercorns
  3. 2 tsp of salt.
  4. Remove just the yellow part of the lemon using a knife or a vegetable peeler.
  5. Spread the lemon peel strips onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Place in a preheated oven and remove them once completely dry.
  7. Grind the dried lemon peels and peppercorn until powdered with a few coarse pieces of peppercorns.
  8. Add the salt and store in an airtight jar.
  9. You could use them on your roasted meat or vegetables.

Citrus marmalade:

Marmalades are a classic way to preserve citrus foods that are in season. Follow our easy to make guide on making citrus marmalade.

Citrus Zest

  1. Freezing or Drying Zest: Zest from citrus peels can be frozen or dried for future use in cooking and baking.
  2. Food seasoning: used in Chinese dishes like orange chicken or beef.
  3. Add finely-grated citrus zest to sauces or garnishing cooked dishes to enhance the flavour and colour profile of fried foods
  4. Add citrus zest to brine for a brighter flavour, along with other seasonings and fruit juices. This can be used to brine meat, making it more tender and flavourful.
  5. Add finely grated citrus zest to bread crumbs, giving a touch of flavour to breaded foods.
  6. Add finely grated citrus zest to store-bought mayo and other sauces for added freshness and flavour.

Air freshener

Use citrus fruit rinds/ peels to deodorise garbage cans.


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Note: please check the ingredients list of any products that you may wish to try and check for allergies or consult a medical professional for any existing conditions being impacted by switching to new products.


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