How to store lemon zest?
April 16, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe

How to store lemon zest?

My grandmother sent me a ton of lemons from her tree, and while I've gone through a bunch, they were beginning to look a little shriveled and sad. So I zested and juiced them. The juice I'll freeze in ice-cube trays, but I'm not sure what I can do with the zest. Is there a way to store it well?

Ideas for how to use it up are also welcome (Ina Garten's lemon cake and lemon bars having already been made).
posted by palliser to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Lemon curd is a delicious use of lemons. You can slather it on EVERYTHING. Also lemon pie. I have recipes for both from my gma-in-law who lives in Arizona and always has too many lemons. Let me know if you'd like either and I'll type them up here.
posted by kthxbi at 1:51 PM on April 16, 2011

Can't ya just freeze it?
posted by Max Power at 1:55 PM on April 16, 2011

I have frozen finely-chopped lemon zest in little ziploc bags before. Take it out of the freezer, give it a couple of thumps on the counter so you can scoop some out of the bag, and you're good to go. I found it didn't quite have the zing of zest fresh off the lemon, but it worked well enough.

This roasted lemon zest powder is nice to make, too, if you want some variety.
posted by bewilderbeast at 1:55 PM on April 16, 2011

I've never done it, but I think this is what I'd give a go: after freezing the juice into cubes, empty the trays and put the zest in them, then fill with water and freeze that way.
posted by trip and a half at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2011

Pack some of it in sugar.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2011

I've long been of the opinion that the best way to store anything is in alcohol
posted by Jawn at 2:07 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Funny, they talked about this this morning on America's Test Kitchen. ATK's take...freezer in a zip-lock bag and it will last for two-three weeks.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 2:30 PM on April 16, 2011

You can dry it.
posted by zinfandel at 2:41 PM on April 16, 2011

You can preserve them! Preserved lemons are used in Moroccan cooking and other delicious things! Here's David Lebovitz's recipe: Morroccan Preserved Lemons.
posted by punchtothehead at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oops, I didn't read that you already cut 'em up. Well, keep it in mind for your next batch!
posted by punchtothehead at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2011

Just freeze the zest. Don't freeze it in anything, with anything, under anything; just enclose it airtight, and you're ready to go. It comes out exactly as it went in.
posted by eritain at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2011

My experience has been like Hypnotic Chick's--freezing them in ziploc is the closest thing to prolonging their shelf life, but even then they'll only keep around a month tops, alas. I also agree with the calls to do something alcoholic (limoncello) or make preserved lemons (so delicious) in the future. To get rid of them more quickly right now you might want to consider making lemon sugar and keeping it in a small container for things like tea/drinks or baking cookies etc.
posted by ifjuly at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2011

kay, I'll freeze it in ziploc and make a couple more cakes later this month (they call for 1/3 c of zest), and I'll keep the other ideas in mind for the next time she takes advantage of the flat-rate Priority boxes..... Thanks!
posted by palliser at 3:21 PM on April 16, 2011

oh. and kthxbi -- please do share the recipes!
posted by palliser at 3:23 PM on April 16, 2011

My limoncello recipe is pretty simple:
1. purchase a bottle of the cheapest vodka you can find
2. peel a bunch of lemons (I dunno, 6 or 8 for a 750 ml bottle)
3. pour some of the vodka out to make room for those peels you stuff in the bottle
4. place lemon peels/vodka in closet for a few months to infuse
5. mix lemony vodka with simple syrup and fresh citrus juice (more lemon, yuzu, blood orange, whatevs) to taste (this means slowly adding simple syrup because it's a bummer when you've over-sweetened it)
6. enjoy!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:02 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have a food processor, remove the zest, put in the food processor with ample sugar, and grind away. Keep the lemon sugar tightly sealed in the fridge, it will last for months. Use in any recipe that calls for sugar: for example, your favorite cake recipe can become a lemon cake recipe.

Do keep it tightly sealed, the flavor and smell can migrate to other items. Also works very well for orange.
posted by gimonca at 6:26 PM on April 16, 2011

Lemon Curd

2 large or 3 small lemons
2 large or 3 small eggs
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice

Grate rind of lemons and mix with well-beaten eggs. Add lemon juice.

Melt butter with sugar in microwave dish, covered. Add the rest of the ingredients to the butter mixture and stir well. Cook in microwave 2 minutes, stir, cook for 2 minutes more.

Fill jar(s) with water and heat in microwave 3-5 minutes to sterilize. Fill jars with curd (2 small or 1 Kerr pint). Cover with saran wrap or foil, then lids. It will thicken after cooling. Keep in fridge.

Add more lemon juice if you want it more tart.

Arizona Lemon Pie

1 large lemon cut into pieces (remove ends and seeds)
1-1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients in a blender and "whir like crazy" - about 2 or so minutes. The mixture will be foamy. Keep whirring until smooth. Pour into an unbaked pie shell - 8-9 inches. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes. The pie will set up like custard. Serve warm, good with cool whip. Can be frozen.
posted by kthxbi at 11:22 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! Johnnybird's Toast Dope (oh so good). The recipe calls for orange zest but I can vouch for it being good with either lemon or Meyer lemon zest.
posted by Lexica at 12:36 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The freezer works well. I got so many good recipes in this thread, too.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2011

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