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Nov 17, 2011 09:05 AM

Storing citrus zest: freeze or dry? (and for how long?)

I have a lime tree and a lemon tree. Periodically, I will get a pretty large number of either fruit, so it's pies, ades, cakes, and..ahem..margaritas. I also give many away.
But that's the juice (which I know can be frozen). What about the zest? Should I freeze it or dry it, and for how long?

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  1. I haven't experimented with drying zest, but I know you can freeze orange zest.
    I just used some this week that I had frozen this past summer. The aroma was almost as strong, I think, as if it had been freshly grated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: racer x

      How do you package your zest for freezing? I have not had good luck with the process myself and would like to know how to do it successfully.

      1. re: jmnewel

        I just put the shavings in aluminum foil, then into a plastic Ziplock-type bag. Stored in the holder on the freezer door (temperature about minus 2ºF).
        Not sure whether aluminum foil would interact with more acidic zests.
        Btw, I use fine shavings from a zester, not thick shavings from a peeler.

    2. I can tell you zest wrapped in plastic wrap and store in the fridge will dry out. That's not such a bad thing depending on how you want to use it. If you want to retain the original texture and taste I would freeze

      1. Last week I got out some lemon zest that I had frozen almost 1 1/2 years ago. It was as good as fresh, or nearly so.

        Today I got out some orange zest that I'd frozen about the same time (February 2012). Just as good as fresh.

        In both cases, I had wrapped the zest (fine shavings) in aluminum foil, folded several times over, then in a ziploc plastic sandwich bag, then all of that in a larger (gallon-size) freezer plastic bag.