The Last Thing To Do Before Throwing Out Citrus Rinds

When life gives you lemons, make citrus peel powder. Reducing food waste is an important part of being a home cook — not only is it less wasteful, but finding ways to use every part of an ingredient can drive creativity and help you maximize the flavors of your recipes. This trick for getting more use out of your citrus rinds will have you looking at lemons, limes, and oranges in a whole new way.

Freshly grated zest has a short shelf life; ideally, you would use it immediately, and if not, then certainly within a few days. Dried citrus peel powder, on the other hand, can last for several months in proper storage. You can turn those squeezed-out lemons and limes into dried zest powder that you can keep in your kitchen and use in any number of sweet and savory recipes. This gives you the opportunity to add a tangy kick to desserts, marinades, or any recipe that calls for citrus zest.

How to make dried citrus peel powder

First, make sure the citrus you buy has not come into contact with pesticides. If that's the case, you probably don't want to eat the exterior. Once you've used the juice or eaten the pulp inside your fruit, you can use a peeler to create thin strips of rind. Try to avoid getting very much of the spongy white pith that lies between the exterior and the actual fruit, because it doesn't usually taste very good.

Spread the peels out on a baking tray and put them in the oven at low heat. Start at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours, and bake until the peels start to curl up at the edges. Once they cool, you can grind them up using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In general, you can expect to use one teaspoon of citrus powder for every tablespoon of zest that a recipe calls for. Of course, once you get used to it, you can use the powder to suit your taste.