The Sustainable Kitchen - A Never Ending Stash of Grated Lemon Rind

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Here's that word again.....sustainable.

The whole world is talking sustainable.  Sustainable this.  Sustainable that.  What the heck does sustainable mean anyway?

In a nut shell (after all we are talking about food here), sustainable means that something replenishes itself so it's always around.  My weight is like that....sustainable.

I have other sustainable things, too, like the weeds in my flower beds and the lady bugs in my attic.  Oh, and my collection of self help books.  You'd think one self help book would be enough, I mean, after you've learned how to help yourself you should be able to do it - don't you think?   But I digress.

You're reading this because I promised you a never ending stash of grated lemon rind.  And so I will now share the how to's with you.

It never fails.... you want to make a batch of yummy lemon muffins to have for tea.  The recipe calls for grated lemon rind but you don't have a lemon in the house.  You could, as many do, substitute a little lemon juice or lemon extract for the grated rind but, just like trying to substitute Tom Cruise for Richard Burton,  it's just not the same.

To make a kitchen sustainable (which, to quote Martha, is a good thing) you need to craft it into a revolving door of ingredients and equipment that work off of and play with each other.

Your grandmother (if you are over 60) had a sustainable kitchen. Today's leftover vegetables became tomorrow's soup.  The bacon fat left in the pan from breakfast was used to fry chicken for a scrumptious dinner.  That slightly soured milk fluffed up her pancakes and when the blueberries were a little to mushy to eat plain, she tossed them into the pancakes, too.   Back then, grandma thought she was running a frugal kitchen.   Today, we call her kitchen sustainable.

So, back to grated lemon rind.  When ever you use a lemon for juice and don't need to see the peel, (like when juicing lemons over salads, for lemonade or in a recipe) take a minute and grate the yellow rind off before you cut the lemon.  I like to use a coarser, sort of shredder - grater but you use what you like.  (Just don't forget to wash and dry the lemon before grating.)

Grate the rind onto a plate (be careful not to grate any white as it tastes bitter) then transfer the grated rind into a small, freezer safe, glass canning jar.

Don't use a plastic container or a plastic bag for storage because the smell of the rind will go through the container and make everything taste of lemon - including the ice cubes.

Cap the jar.  Store it in the freezer.  You can now use the rest of the lemon however you want.

One large lemon yields about 1 tablespoon of grated rind.

Whenever you think of it, and need more lemons for recipes, repeat the process adding the new grated peel to the jar.  There you have it!  A never ending (aka sustainable) stash of grated lemon rind.

When  a recipe calls for grated lemon rind,  it's ready and waiting in the freezer.  I usually just poke out what I need with a knife.

A tablespoon or two of frozen rind thaws in a minute or so.  I never thaw the whole jar unless I need it.

This works for orange rind, too!!



gsdeardoff said…
You are so clever. If you dry it do you think it would lose much flavor. I'm trying to preserve as much without the use of the freezer as possible. It breaks my heart when I see my frozen stocks, tomato paste, frozen herbs etc. go to waste in a power outage.
Yes, drying is GREAT and I whole hearted-ly support your idea of getting off the grid!!!

Dried lemon rind (and orange rind, too) will darken when dried and loose some its fresh taste although the taste will be more concentrated because of its loss of water. It will still be wonderfully usable and you'll be happy you preserved it!

When you buy dried lemon or orange rind, sulpher dioxide is usually added to keep the color bright but I'd rather do without as many food additives as I can.

I don't think you can successfully dry grated rind in the dehydrator. It would be too small amount at one time to be efficient and the fan would blow it around. Drying it at room temperature is an idea....

Try spreading it out in a thin layer on a piece of baking parchment, paper towel or coffee filter to help absorb the water and keep the rind from molding before it dries. Stir the rind each day so all the surfaces get exposed to the air.

Make sure it's bone dry before storing so it doesn't mold.

Good luck!
Let me know how it turns out!!

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