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Up to my neck in lemon rinds

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I'm awash in lemon rinds. My husband's doctor prescribed lemonade as prevention for kidney stones, so he juices one lemon a day - sometimes two, when I join him for a glass.

I occasionally use the zest for whatever I'm making that day, although it's a real pain to zest an already-squeezed lemon half (I usually don't start dinner until after he makes his lemonade). And I don't need zest every day.

Is there anything I can do with the peels and/or rinds of already-juiced lemons? There are 5-10 a week, and I could refrigerate them until I have enough to do something with.

I've thought of making limoncello, but I don't need a lot of that, either. Could I make preserved lemons with only the rinds, or is the flesh essential? Or maybe I could freeze them and do something with them later? Please help me - I hate to throw away all these lovely organic lemon rinds!


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  1. You can candy them and either eat them as a snack or use them for baking or garnishing desserts. There are lots of recipes out there, but basically, you just boil them in sugar syrup -- depending on how intricate you want to get you can do one or more boilings in water first (to leach out some of the bitterness); there are various ways of finishing them off, too (drying on a rack, rolling in more sugar, etc.) You should probably read several recipes and see which one appeals to your skill level and the amount of time you want to invest in it -- or, since you have so many, you could do a comparison test of different recipes. As you said, you can freeze them until you're ready to experiment with them.

    1. One hint, one idea

      Freezing makes for easier zesting than trying to zest a juiced lemon.

      I've heard that they mask smells from garbage disposals. My sink doesn't have one, but it is commonly recommended. I'd guess you should minimize seeds down the sink.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SteveT

        I second the garbage disposable idea. You can also use other citrus as available.

      2. You could make candied lemon zest, which is good in everything from desserts (especially as decoration)to salad toppers. Take equal parts water and sugar and bring to boil to create a simple syrup. Meanwhile, blanch the lemon zest in a pot of boiling water three times to remove any wax on the outside of the zest, and then let the zest simmer in the simple syrup until they turn translucent. You can keep these in the fridge in their syrup for a few weeks, at least.
        You can mix the zest with other fruits to create flavor liquors other than limoncello, and you can always give it away as gifts. You can also make sorbet with some of the juice and zest, and then take the lemon half, hollow it out, brush it with egg white, and freeze. Then you can serve your lemon sorbet in the frozen lemon halves. Not really edible, but fun to eat out of. Have fun!

        1. You could dry them and run them through a food mill to create a nice lemon dust for finishing pastas and such or you could make limoncello and send it to me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sven

            I'll second that!

            You can zest them the night before and infuse EVOO (I do that every other week for fish, a combination of lemon/fennel tops/garlic/chili flakes/S&P, roast the fish on a bed of thin sliced onions, 15 mins in the oven. Infused oil is drizzled on the onions and the fish before roasting.)

            You could also make an awful lot of candied lemon rinds. It's a lot of sugar and a lot of rind in a cast iron pot, stir stir stir - time consuming but incredible result.

            1. re: pitu

              How do you dry them? In the oven on 200 until dry? Do you dry just the zest of everything that's left over after juicing?

              And I'm shocked no one's mentioned this, but a little zest goes a long way towards pepping up your usual drinking water.

              1. re: nooodles

                I have a friend that bought a dessicator (spelling?) to make jerky -- I was think it could be done in that.
                Hope the OP on drying has an oven method . . .

          2. d
            Das Ubergeek

            Pack them tightly in kosher salt in sterilised jars, keep them for 40 days, then rinse thoroughly and use -- white part and all -- in Moroccan recipes.

            1. We are blessed with a great lemon tree next door that we are welcome to, and a friend with huge juicy Meyer lemons. Even without the flesh the following way of thinking may be of some use. I second an idea below to grind one a day in the disposal to freshen the house. I also would use the juiced halves much as you would a bay leaf or ginger slices- just toss them in while cooking and fish them out when done. Chopped a bit they make a lovely bed for anything you roast, or stuffed into cavities of fowl. Tossing into anything that seems like a flavor complement and will release the oils with heat, and then fishing out can give a perfume to your cooking that will have folks wondering what that elusive quality is. Also simmered with ginger or cloves they make a lovely "tea" with honey.

              1. I've been usisng the leftover shell/rind to scrub up sticky/greasy plastic countertops -- not the outer peel side, but the cut edge/innards. Seems to cut through the grime. Add a little coarse salt if especially dirty.

                1. If you have the storage space, bottles of limoncello make great gifts. Another thought might be to alternate with Cranberry juice, which is the preventative that I use. Not the sweetened or cocktail varieties, but the one called "Just Cranberry", Trader Joe's and some of the Supermarket chains carry it. It's not cheap and the taste (bitter-dry) takes getting used to. I had to dilute it with water and add a packet of Splenda when I started, but now kind of like the kick, kind of like a big tannic Petit Sirah.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PolarBear

                    Sadly, cranberry juice is not approved for this kind of kidney stone. (I've had kidney stones, too, and was told the same thing.) So we've had to eschew the cranberries, alas.

                    But I'm thinking thoughts of "gradual" limoncello, where I add a few tablespoons of lemon zest each week. It'll get kinda powerful after a few months, but that's a good thing!


                  2. Yum - what great ideas! I don't have a garbage disposal, so no freshening needed, but everything else sounds great.

                    I never thought of drying lemon zest (or rinds?) for lemon powder - sounds really amazing.

                    And I'm going to start a jar of salt-preserved lemon rinds this weekend!

                    My google-searching turned up another possibility - vinegar-preserved lemon rinds - but I'm not sure how well lemon and cider vinegar go together. What do y'all think? (See the link below.)


                    Link: http://www.healthy.net/asp/templates/...