I wrote recently about how much hot water with lemon that I’ve been drinking lately.
It’s been doing wonders for my health and it relaxes me after a long day. But I’m going through tons of lemons. But the question is – what to do with all the rinds after I squeeze the juice out of my fruit?
There is still so much flavor in there! I don’t want to waste it!
Here are some quick ideas on how to reuse citrus peels:
Did you know you can freeze citrus? It works extremely well. The trick is to zest your fruit before juicing, as they’re easier to manage that way. Wrap teaspoon-sized amounts in plastic and freeze. When you find your recipe in need of a citrus boost, pull out one of your zest packets and use as you like!
I’m not a big drinker these days, but once upon a time, I loved a good old-fashioned. And the garnish for this bourbon beverage is a twist of lemon or orange. The trick to a good old-fashioned is to bend the rind so the oils from the citrus spray into the drink. Want to save the twists for later? You can absolutely freeze larger strips of citrus peel, just like the zest above.
Citrus olive oil
Carefully peel strips of zest from your fruit before juicing and steep in olive oil that has been warmed. Leave to cool overnight and strain the zest out. The result is a lightly zingy oil for drizzling over veggies, fish or chicken.
This couldn’t be simpler. I like the method from Martha Stewart for its ease. You can use any type of citrus (grapefruit sugar is calling my name!) and sprinkle on baked goods or in tea.
If you’re already using essential oils in your vinegar to clean your home, why not DIY it using your lemon peels instead? Add lemon rinds to a jar, cover with white vinegar and let it sit, covered for 2 weeks. Strain the vinegar out and mix equal amounts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Clean away!
People have been grinding their citrus rinds in their garbage disposals for years. The oils in the fruit freshen the air and clean lingering food odors from the drain. You can also simmer citrus on the stove in some water with some warm spices like cinnamon sticks or cloves for a whole house scent.
Soften brown sugar
Does your brown sugar turn into a rock? Throw in a lemon peel next time to keep it soft and ready to use.
Clean cutting boards
Here’s a trick that goes back to my chef days: Sprinkle salt all over a wooden cutting board and scour the surface with a lemon half. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then clean away the liquid that remains.
I can’t wait to start putting my extra lemon rinds to work.
Some of these ideas I’m already using, but there’s a bunch that were new to me too.
And I know there are so many more uses for leftover citrus rinds out there.
How do you use your citrus rinds and peels? Leave a comment below!