This month’s Saveur offers a tip on drying lemon zest. Given my frost-induced, all-at-once harvest of Meyer lemons, I’m giving it a whirl. The dried, powdered zest should last a few weeks, chilled.
The technique is easy: wash & dry the lemons, finely grate the zest using a microplane (avoid the bitter, white pith), then spread the zest out onto waxed paper to dry for 24 hours. Once it is dried, fold the waxed paper over, crush into a powder, and refrigerate in an airtight container until needed.
Two large lemons produced about two tablespoons loosely packed zest.
I juiced the zested lemons and froze the juice in small containers for later use.
The zest darkened in color, started to clump together, but remained quite fragrant.
It perfumed the entire kitchen.
Easy-peasy, but what does one do with an abundance of powdered zest? Sprinkling it here & there (salads, cooked veggies, pastas, grilled meats, rimming cocktail glasses) is nice, but I want to preserve it for more than a few weeks. So I decided to mix it with fine sea salt; I was inspired by a Sicilian blood-orange-zest sea salt sent to me by a friend in Italy. Hopefully, the salt will preserve the lemon flavors into the spring & summer. Penzey’s offers a shallot salt, made in a similar fashion (pulverized dried shallots mixed with salt).
I’m also making lemon zest sugar, which will be nice stirred into hot tea.