Every winter, we get buckets and buckets of lemons donated, and we launch into weeks of producing lemon EVERYthing: Cordial, curd, cakes, preserved lemons, marmalade, citrus cleaning vinegar, and always always lots of dehydrated zest.
Before we juice citrus for making cordial, we remove the zest either by peeling or grating, and then dehydrate it. There’s no point wasting such a delicious part of the fruit by composting it (yes – you can compost citrus) when it has so much flavour and can be used in so many ways!
To dehydrate citrus zest, either use a dehydrator (electric or solar); do it in the oven on the lowest setting (one way is to lay out zest on a tray and every time you turn the oven off after cooking something, pop the tray in and leave the door ajar a the oven cools. Repeat until zest is crispy); or go totally old-school and hang strips of zest above a heater or in front of a fire for a few days.
Dried citrus zest strips used in marinades, mulled wine/cider, cocktails, vinegars, flavoured oils, tea blends, and you can even use them as fire lighters.
If you grind the dried zest in a spice grinder (or dehydrate grated zest instead), you’ve got citrus dust, which is useful in cakes, biscuits, flavoured sugar, marinades, glazes, bath salts, body products, flavour rubs, and of course, lemon pepper seasoning.
– 125g Salt (flake salt is nicest, but any fine salt will do)
– 2tbsp ground dried lemon zest (about 5 lemons worth)
– 1tbsp dried onion powder
– 1.5tsp cracked black pepper
– 1tsp dried herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary blend works well. Dried celery leaves are a nice additional also. We added an extra 1/4tsp dried ground parsley powder to this batch.)
– 1/4tsp dried garlic powder
1. Grind up any large dried ingredients using a spice/coffee grinder. How chunky you leave them is up to you. We grind most parts to a powder, but leave the pepper and most herbs a bit chunky.
2. Mix together with salt.
3. Store in an airtight container. Add a desiccant sachet if you have one to help keep it dry.
- We made up a 4-times batch in these photos, as we go through heaps of this. Start with a single batch and see how you go 🙂
- You could make this blend with rock salt and chunky bits of lemon zest, herbs & pepper and keep it in a pepper grinder if you wanted. Be aware though, if you’re using home dehydrated onions & garlic, they will absorb moisture, causing the mixture to clump and the grinding mechanism to clog up over time.
Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 6: Produce no waste