Preserving Citrus

by Jill Chen on February 29, 2012

in Entertaining, Fruit

If you make citrus marmalade, cordials and baked goods all season long, I hope you don’t tragically toss some of the most flavorful parts of the fruit into the trash. I used to years ago but now I save my zest and any extra juice. Just in time and quite beautifully, Jill shares several techniques for preserving every last drop and stray bit of rind. Thank you, Jill! -Maggie

Meyer lemons have finally made their way north where we are. Sunny, fragrant and thin-skinned with the most beautiful shade of orange, just like the yolks from my chickens.

I tend to juice them all at once, freezing the juice in ice cube trays and storing in Ziploc bags, handy for any recipe that calls for freshly-squeezed lemon juice.

Don’t throw out the skins! Trim off a bit off the bottom so that it sits steady and freeze. The lemon “bowls” can then  be stored frozen in plastic Ziploc bags.

They make the cutest little vessels for ice cream or sorbet.

Or frozen little condiment bowls to keep your lemon mayo chilled when summer barbecue season comes around.

Don’t stop at just lemons; any of these ideas will work on other citrus like limes and oranges.

You must also save the zest, making sure to wash thoroughly in warm water to remove the wax and towel dry before grating.

Grate, air dry on parchment, and then lightly roast in the oven to bring out the flavor. The zest can then be ground into a fragrant and intense lemon zest powder.  Stored in an airtight container, a little pinch goes a long way in adding a citrusy perfume to virtually any dish.

You can also use this fancy tool to scrape the rind off in one long piece. I’ve watched food stylists do this, and I’ve always wanted to try it.

Once you’ve got a long piece of rind, wrap it around a pencil or chopstick, then wrap it all in plastic wrap to keep if from unraveling. Store in the freezer. In no time at all, you’ve got an instant drink garnish when barbecue season comes around.

Can you tell I can’t wait for summer?

I’ve been making the Kefir shown above religiously every morning. Today’s version is flavored with lemon and a spot of honey. And those pretty twisted rinds.

All photos styled and photographed by Jill Chen.

Eat Boutique is blog + market that celebrates the best pure, local + comforting handmade foods. We call it: food that hugs you back.  Looking for the perfect gift? Eat Boutique sells gift boxes filled with handmade sweet and savory treats.  Order a gift box of food today.

Jill Chen

Jill Chen, photographer, graphic designer, and urban farmer resides in Toronto, Canada with her chickens and mini pet pig named Henry. After running a design studio for twenty years, Jill gave it all up for a simpler way of living. When she's not making food or photographing food, she's growing food with the goal of being self-sustaining with year-round organic produce, despite the harsh Canadian winter. Charcuterie, wine-making, mushroom cultivation, aquaponics and shrimp farming are just a few of the projects on her plate right now. You can follow Jill's blog, Freestyle Farm, for beautiful photos that will inspire you to cook or grow something.

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  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Very cool. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Maggie

    I love all these different uses for preserving the most precious of flavors. I’ve totally incorporated all them into my household life.

  • Michael

    If you have copper bottom pans & want them clean & shiny without chemicals cleaners. Use a half a lemon & some salt, it does a better job than the chemicals. Try it!

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