Lemons have so much to give – much more than just their delightful juice! Our friend Pam Farley of Brown Thumb Mama shared some awesome tips on how to dry and make the most out of lemon peels. Now, instead of throwing them away, you can try drying them.
How to dry your lemon peels
- First, wash your lemons. Try to go for ones that are organic or haven’t been sprayed.
- Peel them with a vegetable peeler and aim to get just the rind, not the bitter white pith layer.
- Place the peels in a single layer in your dehydrator oven. If using a dehydrator, dry them for 10-12 hours at 95 degrees. You’ll know they’re completely dry when they snap and don’t bend. If you’re using an oven, preheat to 200°F and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until the citrus peels have completely dried out and start to curl up on the edges.
- You could stop right here and add them to potpourri, or as a fragrant centerpiece with some fresh rosemary.
- If you’d like to cook with them, crush the peels and buzz them in your spice or coffee grinder until you get a fine powder.
- Store the lemon peel powder in the fridge for up to a year.
Cooking with your dried lemon peels
In the kitchen: When substituting in a recipe, use 1 tsp of dried peel for each tbsp of fresh peel called for in a recipe.
Make lemon pepper: Combine 2 tbsp of lemon peel powder and 1 tbsp black pepper. Add 1 teaspoon salt if desired.
For tea: Add a pinch to tea for a zesty new flavor dimension.
For baked goods: Mix with sugar and sprinkle over scones, sugar cookies, chocolate chip zucchini bread, apple pie, or other baked goods for a pop of flavor.
Brighten the flavor of artichokes: Just add it to the cooking water!
Have fun cooking with your Imperfect lemons and be sure to follow along with Pam Farley on her blog, Brown Thumb Mama.
Citrus’s claim to fame, vitamin C, is even more potent in the complete peel, meaning the white pith along with the colorful rind. Compared to one wedge of lemon, 1 T. of peel as twice as much vitamin C and three times as much fiber. You’ll also find vitamins A, B6 and B5; calcium; riboflavin; thiamin; niacin; and folate. Rather than tossing the pith into the compost, you can add it to smoothies. For tomorrow’s desert, soak it in honey water (1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon honey) overnight. The next day stuff it, along with some cinnamon and butter, into the center of a cored granny smith apple and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (basting with the juices 2 or 3 times). So, don’t throw away the pith. That would be food-wasteful. -PEACE-
Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful response, Lori. We love how versatile lemons are!