Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lemon Zest and Drying grated lemon or orange peel

Lemon Zest -

The rich outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, or other citrus fruit, which can be used as flavoring.

On a lemon, it is the yellow part of the peel (skin) on the outside of a lemon. The zest is shiny, brightly colored, and textured; it is the outer surface of the fruit which consumers can directly see.

The peel of a citrus fruit contains two (2) top layers; the zest (the outermost part of the rind), and the pith (a white, fibrous membrane directly below the zest which helps to protect the fruit inside).

Lemon zest has an intense lemon/citrus flavor with very little bitterness. The bitterness is primarily found in the white part of the lemon (the white pith). The white pith will give your dish a bitter undertaste. Carefully zest your citrus fruits leaving the pith on the fruit.

Before zesting, scrub the fruit with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Rinse it well and dry it with a paper towel.

Zesting a lemon

Lemon Zest

Drying your own.....

Grated lemon or orange peel is often called for in fruit bread and quick bread recipes. The peel, or rind, gives the bread an incredible citrus flavor that can't be found in artificial flavorings. While you'll want to use freshly grated rind as decoration on iced breads,cakes, and cupcakes, the dried rind is just as delicious as fresh rind when added as an ingredient to baked goods.

To make your own dried citrus rind:

  1. If possible, choose organic oranges or lemons, and thoroughly wash and dry the fruit.
  2. Carefully use a citrus grater to lightly grate off only the top layer of the skin. You want only the flavorful orange or yellow part of the peel. Avoid the white pith because it makes baked goods bitter.
  3. Transfer the grated peel to a flat dish or onto a piece of wax paper. Let the grated peel dry overnight, or longer if needed.
  4. The grated oranges and lemons can be juiced for baking or drinking, or you can store the fruits in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated until you are ready to use them.
  5. When the grated peel is completely dry and coarse, store it in a clean, glass jar. Keep out of sunlight to prevent fading.
  6. Crush the peel between your fingers before adding it to other ingredients so as to release the orange or lemon flavor. Use in the amounts called for in the recipe.
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