Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Best of the Zest


I really, really, really hate throwing food out. And by food, in this instance, I mean citrus rinds.

Here's what often happens: I get a beautiful organic orange (or lemon, lime, grapefruit or mandarin), use the juice and throw the rest away. It doesn't even go in my worm farm, because I remember reading somewhere that worms don't do citrus. Now, if you've cooked with citrus zest then you know that there is soooo much flavour in there. Locked away in oils between the vibrant peel and that bitter pithy white stuff.

So, I've started saving my rinds. Before I juice a citrus fruit, I quickly remove strips of peel (avoiding the pith) with my veggie peeler. Then, I put the strips on a plate and leave them on the counter for a few days. Or I pop them into the oven after I've just finished cooking something (and it's off, but still warm). And that's all I'd come up with ... it was turning into a bit of a collection. The pack-rat citrus peel collection.

And then I had the answer. I checked out a book from the library called Degustation (by Alain Fabrègues). It's a little fancy for my personal taste, but I thought it might give me some new ideas ... and it did! He blends up his dried citrus rinds into a powder, and then adds them to dishes for that final (zingy) touch. Perfect!

So here's a re-cap:
1. Peel your citrus*. Dry the peels completely - till they are almost snap-able. Smell them - they're amazing. Grind them into a powder in your blender or food processor or (non-coffee grinding) coffee grinder. Smell the powder - it's even more amazing. Store in an airtight glass jar in a dark cupboard.

2. Add a pinch whenever you need the flavour but don't have any of the actual fruits. Or just to finish off a dish. Or in your tea (orange and chai are great together). Or with salt ... for sprinkling. Or in your bath. The options are limitless!

*I would really recommend using un-waxed, organic citrus for this. Wash it before peeling, of course.

Your zesty powder will cost you nothing, because you would've thrown out the peel anyway. And it takes no time at all.

If you have a great idea for using this, share it with us in the comments!
Amanda xx

6 comments:

Erika said... [Reply to comment]

That is a great idea! I don't buy all organic, but do buy organic oranges, lemons and limes. Those are pricey!! (At least in Alabama, anyway). I bet the powder would be delicious in tea, and maybe even in quick breads.
Thanks for sharing; I just love your site!

Amanda @ EasyPeasyOrganic said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks Erika! I love saving every part of something ... especially if it's expensive!! :)

brett said... [Reply to comment]

amazing idea!! I am trying this today, along with a nice lemonade.

slowdownslowly said... [Reply to comment]

Organic lemons are SOOOOOOOO expensive, but I buy them for lemon butter. Which I make and put in my homemade yoghurt. So no rind left over but this is such an amazing idea I think I'll start saving to invest in more lemons! lol

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Melanie, Lemon butter in yogurt?? YUM!!!!!

And it totally sounds like you need to make friends with someone who has a lemon tree. Just not Tamsin. She's mine. ;)

Andrew said... [Reply to comment]

I blitzed my dried peel up with some sugar. Lovely mild orange flavour to it. Would work well with lime or lemon too (or any citrus really).

I am tempted to try drying some lime and lemon zest and blitz it with salt and pepper to make a fish or chicken seasoning.

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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