Have Fresh Citrus Zest Anytime You Need It

Lemon Zest
Lemon Zest. © Emilie Duchesne / Getty Images

What? No Zest in the House?

Has it ever happened that the only ingredient you're missing for a recipe is the fresh citrus zest?

Well, with this quick tip, you can have zest on hand anytime you need it.

Don't Throw It Away!

Don't throw away orange, lemon or lime peels after you've extracted the juice. Instead, before juicing, remove the zest with a microplane, zester, or vegetable peeler, making sure not to take any of the bitter white pith with the zest.

Freeze It!

Place the zest on a piece of parchment or waxed paper and quick freeze it. Once it's frozen, transfer it to a zip-top plastic bag and store it until needed.

Use It!

Thawing zest isn't necessary prior to use. Just overmeasure (to compensate for any ice crystals). For instance, when a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of orange zest, measure out 1 1/2 teaspoons of frozen zest.

Keep Using It!

The zest will keep frozen for about six months if kept tightly sealed. Read more about lemons here.

More Ways to Manipulate Citrus Zest in Cooking

  • How to Dry Grated Citrus Rind: While you'll want to use freshly grated zest as decoration on iced breads, cakes, and cupcakes, the dried zest is just as delicious as fresh zest when added as an ingredient to baked goods. Read more to find out how to do it.
  • How to Candy Citrus PeelLong, thin strips of citrus peel are boiled twice to remove any bitterness and then they go for a swim in a mixture of water, sugar and corn syrup for about 1 hour. Then they are dried out to use in baked goods or dipped in chocolate for a special treat.
  • How to Zest and Juice a LemonHere are tips for choosing the right lemon and what to do with it once you've found it to get the maximum amount of zest and juice. 

Recipes Calling for Zest

  • Gremolata RecipeThis is a savory Italian condiment made with parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. It's typically served with veal but it also goes well with lamb (especially if you substitute mint for the parsley) and seafood (try substituting dill for the parsley).
    • Top 10 Citrus Candy RecipesSweet and tart (some would say "sour") is a classic flavor combination. Here are links to citrus (orange, lemon, lime and pink grapefruit) candies that include fudge, truffles, marshmallows and more.