Adding layers of flavor to a recipe is as important as being sure it is perfectly seasoned and not overcooked. One of my favorite flavors in cooking is citrus. It marries well in both savory and sweet dishes and adds bright, fresh, lively flavor to foods of every ethnic cuisine.
Now, I love my microplane and I use it for grating cheese, chocolate, garlic, onions, ginger, nutmeg and obviously to zest citrus fruit. But what do you do with the rest of the peel if you only need to use a spoonful of zest? Simple, make dried zest. Essentially - dehydrating it in the oven. Here’s how.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Using a vegetable peeler remove the peel from any citrus fruit, being careful to remove only the outer flesh and none of the white pith.
Spread the strips of peel on a sheet pan being sure they are in a single layer and not touching each other. Place the sheet pan in the oven to dry for one hour.
Turn the oven off for one more hour, without removing the sheet pan.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the dried peel cool down completely.
When completely cool transfer the dried peel to a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder used specifically for grinding spices) and grind until you have a fine powder.
Store the citrus powder in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
It remains fresh for months and may be used to enliven any recipe that call for zest.