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

I can’t believe the number of citrus fruit rinds that I’ve trashed (I’ll compost one of these days) 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 more will I need to make a special trip to the market for just a touch of citrus flavor.  I’ll be a quick draw citrus cowgirl – my pistol teaspoon loaded with gun citrus powder ready to take on any recipe that comes my way (I had to bring in the Wild West theme somehow).

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

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 170 F) for about 4 hours or until the rinds are dry are curled.

Finely grind the dried rinds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

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.  She uses a slightly different method.

Coming Up

I used my powdered orange zest in my wagon wheel cookies which will be featured alongside my Wild West cupcakes.

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