Don’t Throw Away Your Citrus Rinds – Dry and Save Them For Recipes That Call for Zest

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Removing the rinds from citrus fruits you’re juicing and preserving the rinds in powder form helps to eliminate food waste and also guarantees that you’ll always have citrus flavoring on hand for recipes!

I can’t believe the number of citrus fruit rinds that I’ve discarded because I didn’t know about this trick.

Now, when I have oranges in the house for snacking, lemons for seasoning fish, or limes for a tangy rice, I will dry and powder their rinds. No longer will I need to make a special trip to the market for just a touch of citrus flavor.

How To Use Powdered Zest

Use powdered zest exactly as you would fresh zest (1 tsp of fresh zest = 1 tsp of powdered zest). While it’s just as strong as its fresh counterpart, powdered zest has a more mellow, robust flavor (not quite as acidic). In a VERY informal taste test of two orange maple syrups – one made with fresh zest and the other with powdered zest – both Jonathan and I preferred the powdered. I realize that this is not very useful data, but I encourage you to perform your own tests at home and report back.

How To Make Powdered Zest

First, start by buying organic fruit or fruit not sprayed with fungicides or pesticides. Wash and dry it thoroughly.

Peel off the rind before eating or juicing your fruit. Try not to get too much of the white – it’s bitter.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill the sheet with the rinds. Don’t overlap them too much.


  • leave the rinds out somewhere warm for a couple of days until they are dried and curled up (our house is too air conditioned and we are scared of bugs outside so we don’t do this method), or
  • bake at your oven’s lowest temperature (ours is 150 F) for about 4 hours or until the rinds are dry are curled.

Finely grind the dried rinds in a spice grinder [paid link] or with a mortar and pestle [paid link].

As long as the powdered zest is completely dry, it should last for about a year (I’ve read this, but haven’t personally put it to the test). Store it in the refrigerator to prolong the shelf life.

For a point of reference, one medium-sized orange makes slightly less than one tablespoon of powdered zest.

More Info

Chocolate and Zucchini did an excellent post on roasted lemon powder. It involves a slightly different method, and it’s worth reading about.

I used my powdered orange zest in my wagon wheel cookies.

And for some additional orange treats, try my orange pie or this chocolate orange cheesecake!