The Chef Within
Using lemon and orange rind in your cooking
Using lemon and orange rinds is one of the best ways to get flavor to your food. What I like about these citrus rinds is that they can be used in both sweet and savory ways. In sweet applications the rinds are added to muffin and cake batter, bread dough, puddings, pie fillings, you name it. Some savory applications might be including those rinds in a tomato based sauce or even a cream sauce. The rinds can really perk up a a vinaigrette dressing or a stir-fry. If I ever come across a recipe that calls for lemon or orange juice I automatically include some of the rind because it’s more effective in providing flavor.
The best way to take the rind off the fruit is with the help of a grater and the best grater for the jon is something called a microplane. It is awesome! I don’t very often recommend many tools, but this is a must. Micorplanes were originally intended for grating hard cheese (like parmesan) but I use mine almost exclusively for rinds.
The fruit grates most easily when it’s whole so if you are juicing and zesting, zest the rind first and then cut the fruit to extract the juice.
There is also a method for freezing the rinds which could be helpful if you have a hard time keeping lemons and oranges in house. When you buy lemons and oranges, take a few minutes and grate off all the rinds before you put the citrus in the produce drawer. Or grate what you think will be a usable amount. When you get through grating one fruit, take the rind of that one fruit and put it in the corner of a little baggie.
Most recipes call for the zest or rind of one lemon or one orange, which is about a tablespoon. So if you freeze the rinds in these small portions they’ll be easy to thaw and use. Mark the baggies with an L or an O so you can tell them apart and then put all the little bags in a larger container so they don’t get scattered throughout your freezer. It’s quick flavor to all your foods.