Scratch into the skin of a freshly picked lemon. Take a deep whiff. It’s a heady experience, isn’t it? The zest of the lemon carries a powerful amount of flavor, flavor you can enjoy long after the lemon itself is gone.
When faced with a need for lemon juice, as in making lemonade, consider removing the zest before squeezing the lemons. Why throw away an opportunity to save flavor and save money? Lemon zest often substitutes well for vanilla in many recipes.
Check out these easy steps for preserving that zest.
Lemon Zest Steps
- Wash and dry the lemons.
- Grate the zest, taking as little of the white as possible. The white membrane is bitter. It is best to leave it behind.
- Spread the grated zest on a piece of kitchen parchment paper laid out on a baking sheet.
- Place the loaded baking sheet in a warm place. If you have an oven with a pilot, place the baking sheet in the oven. If you have a dehydrator, you can use the dehydrator with the temperature set to 100 degrees.
- When the zest is crumbly dry, in a day or two, store it in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and place the jar in a cool, dark place.
For optimum flavor, soak the zest in a bit of warm water for about 30 mintes before using. If you are using the zest in baking, use some of the liquid from your recipe to soak the zest before adding it to your batter.
What could be easier? For more fun, try zesting different varieties of citrus. From one variety to another, you will find a broad spectrum of flavors to work with. Have a great time!