6/9/13

Dehydrating Your Citrus Peels


Making your own dried orange or lemon zest powder is really easy and SUPER thrifty! With citrus fruits being at their cheapest during the summer, this is a great time to take something your family usually throws out or composts and turn it into some dehydrated citrus zest to use in your baking and cooking.

I am in the middle of dehydrating some orange slices for a future blog post full of fun ideas for taking advantage of this summer citrus fruit while they are in season. My husband came in and peeled an orange to eat while I was doing that and without thinking about it, I as usual popped the peels onto the dehydrator , and then realized I should do a separate post on just dehydrating the peels, and making your own Zest powder.
Dehydrating lemon peels

Orange Peel Powder or Zest can be used in more than you realize. It can be sprinkled into Chinese cooking, sprinkle a little into many of your baking recipes such as zucchini breads, cakes, muffins,etc. it will bring out and enhance many of your other flavors. Save and mix into your teas or drinks, and much more. Or leave the dried peels whole and use in potpourri mixes. See the end of the directions for a great link to making your own caffeine free orange spice tea blend.

Jan's Tip: To make a large batch, save your peels in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator till you have the amount saved that you want or store in freezer (thaw before drying them).  

I am using a dehydrator but will also give you oven drying directions.

To Dehydrate Orange(or other citrus) Peels:

By Dehydrator
Scrap as much of the white pith from the under side of the peels as you can.
Lay your peels on dehydrating tray leaving space in between the peels for air to flow.
Dry at low setting (if your dryer has settings, mine does not) for anywhere from 5-8 hours approximately Some dryers may take longer. You are looking for them to be crispy and snap when you bend them.

From here you can break them into pieces or grind them in a blender into powder. Store in airtight containers. Store in cool spot, (I actually just store them in a jar in my freezer door and pull it out when I need some.

By Oven:
Preheat oven to 200 degree's.
Scrap as much of the white pith from the underside of the peels as you can.
Lay your peels peel side down on baking sheets.
Bake 3  hours, checking them every 20 minutes or so to make sure they don't burn.
At the 3 hour mark simply turn off the oven and let them continue drying overnight.
They should be crisp and snap when you bend them.

From here you can break them into pieces or grind them in a blender into powder. Store in airtight containers. Store in cool spot, (I actually just store them in a jar in my freezer door and pull it out when I need some.

Bonus Recipe:
I don't drink tea, but found a fun recipe over at nourshingdays.com for a caffeine free orange spice herbal tea mix. I think this would make a great gift for a friend either during the holidays or a birthday with a pretty vintage tea cup and making your own honey lemon spoons out of vintage teaspoons.
My Caffeine Free Orange Russian Tea Mix with Honey Lemon Toffee  Stir in spoons.

9 comments:

  1. I am going to give this a try in my oven, thanks for sharing the tutorial. ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just absolutely love the idea of dry freezing orange peel. It seems when I find a good recipe using orange peel I'm out of fresh oranges, especially in the winter. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used my lemon peels to make limoncello. My question is this. I just froze the lemons that I peeled. Can I dehydrate them after they are defrosted or should I just thaw them and juice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcie, with Lemon peels I see no reason why it wouldn't work. It should work just fine. Other foods with a high water content may not fair so well, but thawing the peels and dehydrating should be just fine, as far as I can tell. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!
      Best of luck!
      Jan

      Delete
  4. Hi just want to ask, is the 200 degrees in fahrenheit or celsius?? Sorry im not familiar with what you use. Thank you. Its a brilliant way to dry it.. hoping your reply asap. Thanks again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appologize for the delay! It is Fahrenheit. I am in the US.

      Delete
  5. I love this! I have been keeping all my peels for different projects and recipes but today was the first time it hit my hmmmm why don't I dehydrate some of those peels. Thanks so much. And ladies I will say grating a frozen lemon or orange is super easy and I love that option for recipes that don't need juice also.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love this! I have been keeping all my peels for different projects and recipes but today was the first time it hit my hmmmm why don't I dehydrate some of those peels. Thanks so much. And ladies I will say grating a frozen lemon or orange is super easy and I love that option for recipes that don't need juice also.

    ReplyDelete

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