Don’t throw away those lemon peels. It’s easy to dry lemon peels for use in cooking, cleaning and body care (yes, really!)
I was reading the King Arthur Flour catalog the other day (I can’t be the only one who reads cookbooks, seed catalogs, and baking catalogs for fun, right?) and was surprised to see a tiny jar of dried, powdered lemon peel for $10.
Really? People are paying $10 for something that the rest of us throw away? I guess they are the same people who throw away their vegetable scraps and then buy compost at the garden store…but I digress.
A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to get a bunch of delicious lemons from my friend’s urban orchard. I used the juice to make lemonade, lemon cake, and homemade lemon chicken. I couldn’t bear to waste the peel, so I decided to dry it and make my own lemon peel powder.
How to Dry Lemon Peel
First, wash your lemons. Please only use fruits that are organic or haven’t been sprayed. Peel them with a vegetable peeler and try to get just the rind, not the bitter white pith.
Place the peels in a single layer in your dehydrator. My giant pile of peels filled three trays in my Nesco dehydrator.
Dry them for 10-12 hours at 95 degrees. You’ll know they’re completely dry when they snap and don’t bend.
Aren’t they beautiful? You could stop right here and add them to potpourri, or as a fragrant centerpiece with some fresh rosemary.
Crush the peels and buzz them in your coffee grinder until you get a fine powder.
Store the lemon peel powder in the fridge—it will keep for a year.
Cooking With Dried Lemon Peel
When substituting in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon dried peel for each tablespoon of fresh peel called for in your recipe.
Make your own lemon pepper! Combine 2 Tbsp lemon peel powder and 1 Tbsp pepper; add 1 tsp salt if desired (I like Real Salt).
Add a pinch to tea or your homemade salad dressing.
Mix with sugar and sprinkle over scones or other baked goods; add to sugar cookies for a pop of flavor.
Put a bit into the crumb topping for apple crisp.
Give your vanilla or lemon pudding extra zing with a dash of lemon peel powder.
Use to brighten the flavor of artichokes–add to the cooking water.