How to Preserve Citrus Zest in Sugar or Salt

How to Preserve Citrus Zest in Sugar or Salt

Preserving zest is a great way to keep that fresh citrus pop in your recipes all year long!  I love using Meyer lemon salt on my roast chicken, and finishing my shortbread cookies with grapefruit sugar.  The process for both sugar and salt is the same. 

Ingredients

Any kind of citrus - lemons, oranges, limes, etc.

Preparation

Wash and dry your citrus

Remove the zest with a fine grater or microplane.  Do not push too hard.  The white pit under the citrus rind is VERY bitter, so do your best not to remove it.

Combine your sugar or salt with the zest.  I use 1 cup of sugar or salt with one lemon.  Mix the zest and sugar or salt thoroughly to ensure that all the zest’s surfaces are covered and it is not clumping together.  If it clumps, it will not dry properly and will putrefy.

Once you have broken up all the clumps, spread the sugar or salt with zest in a thin layer on a flat surface (a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper is ideal) and allow to dry for 24 hours.

It is finished if it passes the ‘touch test’.  Touch a piece of zest caked in sugar or salt.  If it does not feel moist to the touch, it’s ready to be packed into a jar and stored for up to 1 year to add citrus flavor to your cooking.  If it feels damp, continue to let it dry. How long it takes to dry depends on a lot of things like humidity, room temperature etc.  You will be able feel when it is done.  It’s worth the wait.