Friday, November 5, 2010
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!