Cit­rus Skins

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature Clever Ways With Leftovers -

There are lots of uses for cit­rus peel, and there’s a lot of flavour and nutri­tion in them so don’t throw them away af­ter us­ing up the juice. Many recipes call for the zest of le­mons or limes to add a bit of zing.

HOME-MADE ZEST

A mi­croplane is the eas­i­est tool for zest­ing the cit­rus as it takes just the rind and leaves be­hind the bit­ter, white pith so my first sug­ges­tion is to take the time to make zest.

If you’ve juiced le­mons, limes, or­anges or grape­fruit but don’t have an im­me­di­ate need for zest, you can make it any­way and dry or freeze it for fu­ture use. If you don’t have a mi­croplane or zester, you can also use the small side of a box grater. Place the zest on wax pa­per on a flat tray in the freezer to dry out. When it is com­pletely dry trans­fer it into jars and store in the pantry. Al­ter­na­tively, spread the zest on a towel and leave it in the sun un­til dried, then store in a clean jar. It can be used to add flavour to stir-fries, cakes, rubs for roast meat and much more.

CIT­RUS POW­DER

Go one step fur­ther and you can make cit­rus ex­tract pow­der. Use your mi­croplane to make zest or cre­ate peel twists – this is larger peels of skin made by us­ing a potato peeler, but again, be care­ful not to in­clude the bit­ter pith. Al­low them to dry - this will take about 3-4 days for twists, less for zest.

Once dry, put it in a blender (or spice grinder) and pul­verise it into a pow­der. Store it in a clean jar.

You can then use this cit­rus pow­der to make le­mon pep­per or lime salt. Just mix the le­mon ex­tract pow­der with freshly cracked pep­per, or the lime pow­der with rock salt, and store it in a jar for later use. Al­ter­na­tively, use it to flavour soft­ened but­ter and then roll the cit­rus but­ter into a log, cover in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate un­til solid. Use the but­ter on roast chicken or tur­key, on top of grilled salmon or other seafood, or on your morn­ing toast to give it some zing.

You can use the cit­rus pow­der to make cit­rus sugar – add the pow­der to sugar and mix it well.

An even eas­ier way is to just use fresh twists of peel. Place them in a jar with the sugar and let the oil from the peel in­fuse the sugar for about a day or two, then re­move the peel and store the sugar in the pantry. The peel from one le­mon should flavour about 2 cups of sugar. Fresh twists can be used to make cit­rus olive oil: pound cit­rus peel (pith re­moved) in a mor­tar and pes­tle with some oil added. Place this in a jar with more oil and let it rest for 6-12 hours. Strain into a clean jar.

You can also fol­low this idea to make in­fu­sions: in­fuse honey or vine­gar with cit­rus peel by plac­ing twists in the bot­tle or jar to let the flavours seep in. Strain the liq­uid and

store in a clean jar. If you are sick of cit­rus flavours in your food, then use the peel to clean your jug or ket­tle.

For min­eral de­posit build-up in jugs or ket­tles, fill the ves­sel with wa­ter, add a hand­ful of le­mon peel and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit for an hour, drain, then rinse well.

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