Learn how to dehydrate lemon peel and turn it into delicious zesty dried lemon powder with multiple uses in the kitchen.
Homemade dehydrated lemon powder is known for its vibrant yellow color, delightful aroma, and high nutritional value. It is commonly used in the kitchen to enhance flavors and as a source of added nutrients.
Although many of us tend to discard lemon peels and only consume the fruit, lemon peel powder is a great way to utilize the often-overlooked orange peels. While eating powdered lemon peel may sound somewhat appetizing, incorporating it into recipes can add a delicious citrusy flavor and health benefits to your dishes.
What is lemon powder?
Lemon peel powder is a fine, dry powder made from the zest or outermost layer of the lemon peel. It is created by dehydrating and grinding the lemon peel into powder.
Dehydrated lemon powder is a versatile ingredient in cooking and baking. It is often used as a natural flavoring agent and a source of essential oils, giving dishes a bright, citrusy flavor and aroma. Use it in marinades, rubs, dressings, sauces, and desserts. It adds flavor to tea, smoothies, and other beverages. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, making it a nutritious ingredient to incorporate into your diet.
What is a lemon peel?
Lemon peel is the outer layer of the lemon’s skin, also known as the zest. The yellow, fragrant part of the lemon contains essential oils and flavor compounds.
The white layer below the lemon peel is called the pith. It is a spongy layer between the outer zest and the inner fruit of the lemon.
The white pith is fiber-rich and contains some nutrients, such as vitamin C and flavonoids. However, it is not typically used in cooking or baking because it has a bitter taste and a tough texture. Remove the pith if you intend to use this lemon powder for culinary purposes. It is easy to do when you use a zester or vegetable peeler to remove it. When I made this orange powder I included the inner albedo because of its nutritional value for the skin since I wanted to use it in homemade beauty products.
Why use dehydrated citrus powder instead of lemon zest?
Dehydrated lemon powder and lemon zest both provide a bright, citrus flavor to dishes, but here are some reasons why you might consider using citrus powder instead of lemon zest:
Powdered lemon peel is a convenient and shelf-stable alternative to fresh lemon peel. You can store it for months without losing flavor; it is easy to measure and add to recipes without zesting fresh lemons. In addition, homemade lemon powder is more concentrated than lemon peel, so you can use less to achieve the same level of lemon flavor. Approximately 1 teaspoon lemon powder = 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest.
What Are the Health Benefits of Lemon Peels?
Lemon peel contains numerous nutrients and bioactive compounds that can provide numerous health benefits.
- Lemon peel contains high levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which can help protect your body against oxidative stress and free radical damage.
- The fiber in the lemon peel can help promote healthy digestion by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.
- The vitamin C in the lemon peel can help strengthen your immune system and protect against infections.
- Some research suggests that compounds in lemon peel, such as limonene and hesperidin, may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Some studies have found that certain compounds in lemon peel may have anti-cancer properties and could help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.
The best lemons for making lemon peel powder are fresh, organic lemons free of pesticides and other chemicals. Look for lemons that are ripe, firm, and have a bright yellow color with no blemishes or bruises.
Opt for lemons with a thick, fragrant peel, as this will yield the most flavorful and aromatic powder, like Meyer lemons, which have a sweeter and less acidic taste than regular lemons and will produce a milder flavor.
How to make lemon powder recipe
First step – Obtaining lemon zest from citruses.
Wash the lemons thoroughly under hot water to eliminate all the pesticides. Use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove just the outer lemon zest. We don’t want to include the white inner pitch as it adds a bitter taste to the powder. Cut the peels into thin slices to faster the drying process. The leftover lemons can be used to make this lemon cordial, lemon curd, or cookies.
Second step – Select the drying method.
You can choose at this stage whether you prefer the air drying method which takes several days or you want to speed up the drying process with the oven or dehydrator.
- To dry orange peels using the air drying method, spread them out on a tray or drying net and keep them away from direct sunlight. Cover them with a net or cloth to prevent insects and dust from contaminating them if you’re drying them outside. It may take up to 4 days to dry in good weather conditions.
- You can use the oven on low heat to speed up the drying process of orange peels. However, it’s crucial to avoid burning them. Depending on your range, it may take around 1-2 hours at 35°C (95°F) with occasional shuffling to ensure even drying. Keep the oven door slightly open to let the moisture escape.
- Another way to dry orange peel pieces is to use a food dehydrator. Place the lemon peel pieces on the dehydrator trays in a single layer, ensuring they are not touching each other. Leave some space between the elements to allow for air circulation. Set the temperature on the dehydrator according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The temperature for drying orange peels is usually around 50°C (120°F) to 60°C (140°F). Allow the orange peels to dry for several hours or until they are dehydrated and brittle. The drying time can vary depending on the peels’ thickness and the air’s humidity level.
Third step – Grind it.
Once dried, transfer the lemon peel pieces into a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor to churn the dried lemon peels into powder.
You can choose the consistency you prefer, whether coarse or fine. However, be cautious not to overheat your spice grinder or processor, so you may need to pause and resume to prevent overheating.
Fourth step – Transfer into a sterilized bottle.
Once you get an excellent fine powder, transfer it into a dark, airtight container that’s kept away from moisture to preserve its color and aroma. Next, consider shifting the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
How many lemons do you need to make it?
On average, a medium-sized lemon will yield about 2-3 tablespoons of lemon peel, equivalent to approximately 8-12 grams of lemon peel.
You will need about 10 medium-sized lemons to make 1 cup of lemon powder.
How do you know when the lemon slices are dehydrated?
The lemon slices should feel dry and brittle to the touch and should snap easily when you try to bend them. In addition, you will notice they lose their bright yellow color, turn darker, and shrink in size as they lose their moisture content. This indicates that they are getting close to being fully dried.
Ways to use homemade lemon powder
Homemade dried lemon peel powder has multiple uses in the kitchen and beyond.
The lemon powder makes a great flavoring agent in soups, sauces, salad dressings, marmalade, marinades, dressings, and baked goods like this 4 ingredient no bake lemon pie or blueberry dump cake. It provides a bright, zesty, and tangy flavor to dishes.
Use ground lemon powder as a seasoning for meats, fish, and vegetables. It adds a refreshing and citrusy taste to the dishes.
Add it to water, tea, smoothies, or cocktails to give them a lemony twist. Make lemonade or other citrus-based drinks using a tablespoon of fresh lemon peel. For its high vitamin C and antioxidants, use it as a nutritional supplement when added to smoothies or juices.
It can serve as a natural preservative to prevent fruits and vegetables from browning or to extend their shelf life.
Use it as a natural cleaning agent to remove stains, grease, and odors from surfaces. Alternatively, add it to laundry detergent to boost its cleaning power.
Can you dry other citrus fruit peels?
Any citruses will do, like oranges, lime or grapefruits.