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Citrus At Its Best

Citrus At Its Best

Image source: Homemade candied citrus peels from marthastewart.com

Fresh fruit can be costly, so when you have a basketful you don’t want any to go to waste.

Along with being super helpful around the house for cleaning and freshening, citrus peels can also be used in cooking. Putting an extra twist in recipes with the peels is tasty and frugal.

Use organic varieties if possible and wash them thoroughly since any pesticides can accumulate in the peels. Buy citrus that is locally in season throughout the year and then you can dehydrate the peels and store in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Peels can be saved and used to add some tang to sugars and seasonings. The oils will permeate whatever they are placed into for a more dimensional taste. Citrus sugar can be made by inserting dried peels inside an airtight container filled with brown, white or raw sugars. This can also be done with flavorings such as honey and vanilla. These can be cooked with or used to steep in beverages like teas, cocoas, ciders or cocktails.

Peels can be added to oils and vinegars to enhance their flavor. They can also be mixed with herbs like roseary for an aromatic touch. These can be used with sweet sides or beef, poultry or seafood dishes. Condiments can even get an extra kick from flavored peels.

Candied grapefruit peels are a delicious way to use leftovers. The peelings can be boiled to soften them and remove any bitter taste which grapefruit skins can sometimes have, and then mixed with any preferred sweetener. Let them sit in their own sugary syrup until you are ready to serve. They can also be dried to remove any extra liquid and can be dipped in chocolate. This recipe can also be made with oranges and lemons for a neat way to use all of the fruit.

The zest from citrus rinds can be saved and used to flavor many items. Remove the outer layer from the fruit with a zester or vegetable slicer, being careful not to cut into any of the flesh as this will affect the flavor. Dry the zests in an oven on the lowest setting until they begin to crisp, or let them air dry until completely dehydrated. They can be placed in a jar for about a week and used as needed. This natural seasoning adds a lot of taste so you don’t have to use as much sodium or other unnatural taste enhancers.

The Local Kitchen has more inspiring ideas for what to do with citrus peels, including recipes.

It is no doubt that a grocery bill can put a dent in the monthly expenses, so thinking of ways to use up all of the food that we buy can help stretch the budget. Plus, a little food experimentation is often what leads to the best recipes.

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