Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Kitchen Project: Citrus Zest Powder

I normally feel as if my recipes include a whole variety of different ingredients. I can get pretty excited about something new, but then again, in a lot of cases, I return with frequency to certain flavors that appeal to me/are ingrained in my brain. Fresh thyme, olives and of course, citrus. In this fourth Kitchen Project post, let's go through how to get the most out of your zest. Mmm. zesty. As with my other posts on this subject, this is something that will take some time, athough this particular project is the shortest so far.

Zest is the outer (colorful) part of citrus. After the zest you got your pith, the bitter white layer, and then the pulp and juice combined as flesh.

SO, what is the deal with the zest? It's where the essential oils are. Meaning the flavor but none of the sourness. (Unless you are eating those Persian Lemons. Have you had these? Freaked me OUT. It looks and smells like a lemon, but when you eat a slice, its...sweet. It was akin to eating lemon-scented cleanser. They bred out the sour! Oh those wacky Persians.) The idea behind using the zest is that you get all the flavor, none of the sourness, and no additional liquid in your dish.

When I have a lot of citrus, and am in a kitchen project kind of mood, I go right ahead and dry some out to make a powder out of it that will last pretty much into the next millennium. It's great to have on hand and sprinkle over any number of dishes to add another dimension of flavor. This is not something you should do with any savory foods in the oven, the commingling of flavors isn't recommended.

Remember kids, waste-not, want-not. And for citrus peels nothing could be more true. Whenever you are going to eat an orange, juice a lemon or rim that glass with lime (oh yea!) why not take the extra few seconds to save the zest. Here's how.

Scrub your citrus well. Bacteria is not our friend.

Using a super duper sharp knife or a peeler (I don't recommend your zester for this particular task) remove the outer layer from your citrus in the largest strips you can. Do your best to only get the zest and not the pith.

Preheat your oven to the absolute lowest setting. 170 - 210F is ideal.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Add all your zest in a single layer.

Bake until quite dried. It sort of depends on the thickness of your strips, but 2 hours is typically enough.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Using your spice grinder or an extra clean coffee grinder, dust those suckers!

And that's all there is to it!

Now what? Well, add it to salad dressing, mix it with some goat cheese and chives for a spread, combine it with sesame seeds and cayenne for an outrageous dry rub or sprinkle a touch over your baked fish. Try it in tomato-fennel sauce, stirred into your polenta or as a twist in tapenade. Its also the perfect addition to pound cakes and sugar cookies. Simple glamour indeed.


In-N-Out Burger said Tuesday that it fired a top executive who had claimed in a lawsuit that the Irvine hamburger chain was trying to dump him as part of plan to push aside founder Esther L. Snyder. Richard Boyd was removed from his position on the three-member In-N-Out board and relieved of his duties. The action was taken by the two other members of the board. The dismissal was the latest chapter of a bitter fight pitting Boyd, who retained his role as co-trustee of nearly two-thirds of the private company's stock, against Taylor and 23-year-old heir, Lynsi Martinez. She is the only grandchild of Snyder, who helped open the first drive-through In-N-Out stand in 1948 with husband Harry. - San Jose Mercury News


good idea ! never thought of that. Thanks for the tips . NOw we can add zesty flavour to our food.

How long does it keep? And in the frig? Any sense of how it keeps frozen?
I have one question?
So far as I can tell, it keeps at least a year in a sealed container in the pantry. The intensity lessens for sure, but it still have a noticiable citrus punch.
Brilliant idea! Now all my orange zest do not have to go to waste. Thanks so much for this!
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