One of our New Year's resolutions is to find more ways to use kitchen scraps, and with all the Cara Cara oranges, Kishu mandarins, and other citrus fruits we've been eating, we now have plenty of dried peels saved. Here are some of the ways we use them. Let us know if you have any tips, too. Last winter, we made a list of 5 Good Uses for Your Citrus Peels, which included both fresh and dried peels. This time, we're focusing on more ways to use the peels we have dried in the oven or air dried on a drying/cooling rack. We keep them stored in air-tight containers in the pantry. (Note: we recommend using pesticide-free fruit only.)
• Grains: Infuse rice or quinoa with citrus flavor by adding dried peels to the water during boiling/steaming. Peels may be eaten or removed before serving.
• Powder: Grind peels with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and sprinkle over baked goods (combine with sugar for sweetness), use in marinades and rubs, or anything else you can think of.
• Roasted vegetables: Although it isn't a substitute for fresh zest, dried lemon or even orange peel does work well in roasted dishes. Try tossing large pieces or ground-up peels with roasting beets and other root vegetables.
• Sweet bean soup: In Chinese cooking, Mandarin orange peels are added to sweet dessert soups. For recipes, check out A Table For Two's Red Bean Soup and Diana's Desserts' Sweet Red Bean Soup.
• Tea: Mix orange or lemon peels into homemade tea blends or just add to green or black tea as it's steeping.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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