Canning and preserving are important skills to learn on the homestead. Whether it be through dehydrating tomatoes, preserving herbs, or making your own spice blends, there is a way to preserve almost everything you harvest on your homestead. Making citrus zest is a great way of preserving those citrus peels for throughout the year.

You can make zest from any type of citrus and you don’t have to have a dehydrator to do so either! Today you can learn how to make your own from oranges, lemons, or limes, and turn them into citrus salt or citrus sugar.

Lemon zest

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Making Citrus Zest

Making citrus zest is very easy. Whether using oranges, lemons or limes, the process is all the same.

Wash and dry your citrus to make sure it is clean and pesticide free. Growing your own citrus means you wouldn’t have to worry about those toxins. However, if your citrus is bought commercially, make sure a good washing and drying take place.

Once clean, use a zester and remove only the peel of the citrus. Do not use the white pith below the peel because it tends to be bitter. If you do not have a zester you can use the tiny holes that are available on most shredders. You can also purchase a zester.

How To Dry It

Take all of the citrus zest you have grated and place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread it out and allow it to dry. I let mine to dry for 24 hours to make sure there is no moisture.

When it is completely dry you can pour it into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. I buy my jars in a 24-pack from Amazon. And they come with free chalkboard labels too! For more protection, you can add an oxygen absorber to the jar. It will last a long time if kept in a cool dry place.

Orange zest drying on a cookie sheet

Types of Citrus to Use

Basically, any citrus can be used. I regularly use the following…

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Nectarines

Making Citrus Salt

To make citrus salt you simply need to mix equal parts of the citrus zest with equal parts of kosher salt, mix together, and let dry for 2 weeks so the flavors can blend together.

Orange zest and Kosher salt

Using Citrus Salt

Citrus salt can be used in so many ways. I have listed a few below.

  • Sprinkled over cooked fish
  • Mixed with oil for salad dressing
  • As a seasoning for lemon-pepper chicken
  • In seafood dishes

Types of salt to use:

You can use any type of salt you prefer. Some suggestions are below. These salts can be used in their original form or ground finer with a mortar and pestle.

  • Sea Salt
  • Table Salt
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Kosher Salt

Making Citrus Sugar

To make citrus sugar you follow the same directions as making citrus salt above except you do not mix the sugar and zest together until the zest is completely dry.

Orange zest and sugar

Using Citrus Sugar

Citrus sugar is very useful for flavoring the following foods…

  • Sprinkling on cookies
  • Rimming the glass of a tart cocktail
  • Adding to baked goods when baking
  • Mixed with olive oil for a hand scrub
  • Added to citrus-based marinades

As you can see, making citrus zest has many uses in the kitchen. Do you have recipes you use citrus zest? Please share your tips and recipes in the comment box below!

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