Drying citrus peel is easy and can add a huge flavour boost to so many dishes. The dried peel can be used in chunks or strips, or can be powdered and mixed with other ground spices. I add it to my regular chai mix, to herbal/spice infusions, curry powders, soups, sauces, dressings, syrups, salts, breads and other baked goods, sweet and savoury rice dishes and saucy baked dishes.
Peel from any citrus can be dried – oranges, mandarins, limes, tangelos, pomelos and so forth. Use them alone, or mix them in dishes.
How to Dry Citrus Peel
Use organic fruit that has been washed well and dried. The peel of mandarins and similar fruit can be peeled easily. For oranges and other citrus with a bitter pith, use a potato peeler or knife to shave strips of peel from the fruit. The remainder of the fruit can be eaten, juiced or used in other dishes.
Scatter the peel on a plate or tray lined with a kitchen towel. Leave in the air or sunshine to dry, bringing in in the evening if drying outside. You might like to construct a cover from muslin cloth to keep dust and insects from the peel. Keep it above the peel and make sure that air can still circulate over the peel.
When dry and no longer moist – they will be hard and perhaps curled up – keep in an air tight container. They must be completely dried.
Use as suggested above. Here is one salt that you can make, inspired by Cornersmith, and another of my own.
Fennel, Orange and Chilli Salt
Powder enough of your dried citrus peel to make 1.5 tspns of powder.
Coarsely crush 1.5 tspns of fennel or cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle. Add to the citrus peel powder, 200g sea salt and 0.5 tspn chilli flakes (or to taste) and 0.25 tspn turmeric powder. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
Grape Vine Leaf, Orange and Chilli Salt
Grape vine leaves dry very easily and are delicious to use in dishes. Try mixing some with your next stuffed vine leaf filling. Simple leave some vine leaves in the sun to dry until very crisp and completely dried.
Powder enough of your dried citrus peel to make 1.5 tspns of powder, and enough of the dried vine leaves to make 1 tpsn powder.
Combine the two powders with 200g sea salt and 0.5 tspn chilli flakes (or to taste) and 1 tspn dried mint. Mix well and store in an airtight container.