I will forever remember quarantine as a time in life where I experimented more in the kitchen. I’m sure many of you can relate.
In my house it started off with ALL the cocktails for daily happy hours with my best friend and then it morphed into testing out different types of bread. After I realized quarantine might last longer than we all initially thought, I started balancing out my meals and experimenting with different types or meats and/or garnishes.
Name a better time to experiment and take risks in the kitchen when you have ALL the time in the world… I’ll wait…
Anyway, I used this time to my advantage to get outside of my comfort zone and try complicated recipes or test ingredients I’ve never used in the kitchen before. I used it as a time to try the “simple recipes” that are long and slow to cook…take this homemade dried citrus for example!
Dried citrus is an easy recipe that piqued my interest back in March of 2020 (if you’re following the timeline, this was during the daily happy hours). Let’s just say the first night I attempted to make my own, it was a really late night. While this is a very simple process, I started it entirely too late and was up until close to 1am ON A WORK NIGHT! Boy oh boy did they pay off though!
If you’re new here, you may be confused with my comment about it being a work night, so let me explain. I manage this blog and @rightbackspatula Instagram account on top of a full-time corporate job. It’s a lot, and not easy at times, but I love it and it has been a great distraction during this odd season of life.
Back to dried citrus…
Now that citrus is back in season, you can only guess what I have been up to! Ding ding ding! Making more homemade dried citrus.
I don’t normally eat a lot of fresh citrus because it gives me acid reflux. However, dried citrus gives the concentrated flavor without all the acid.
I learned a few lessons through my trial and error and ended up making a few batches which lasted me into the summer months. This blog post breaks down all the questions, from the different uses, to the different methods of dehydrating, to what citrus to use, and lastly tips on storing dried citrus.
What are the different uses for dried citrus?
I use them most as garnishes for boards, cocktails, seafood dishes and even Meyer Lemon breads. They would also be delicious in a cup of hot tea with other spices. Lastly, they can be used for dry spice rub mixtures for meats and seafood.
In my opinion, they add a layer of elegance to any board or plate they touch.
What equipment do I need to dry my own citrus at home?
I used a good ole fashioned oven. There’s no special piece of equipment required, although if you have an air fryer or a food dehydrator then you could use one of those in place of an oven.
Dehydrating is a process of drying food. It is a food preservation method and holds back the growth of different bacteria, yeast, and mold by removing the water from the food.
The process of dehydrating is a slow process. It concentrates the flavors in fruits and vegetables.
Dehydrators have become all the kitchen rage over the past couple of years. Surprisingly, I don’t own one. If I had more storage space in my current home, I would consider buying a dehydrator, but at this point in my life it’s not a must have. My oven will suffice.
The key is to bake long and slow. I bake my citrus in a 215 degree oven for close to 2 hours.
What else can I dehydrate?
Fruits, vegetables, and other snacks such as beef jerky or potato chips.
What type of citrus should I use?
You can use a variety of different citrus. I used Meyer lemons, blood oranges, and Cara Cara oranges. I love the color variations, but grapefruit and other types citrus would work too!
How to store dried citrus?
Dried citrus can be stored in an air tight container for 3-4 months if properly dried. The key is to ensure there is no moisture left in the fruit.
Tips for making dried citrus:
- Make sure to slice citrus evenly. Uneven slices could result in uneven baking…hence why I was up late the first time I tried these! 🙂
- Bake like-sized pieces on the same baking sheet. For example, the lemon slices are much smaller than the orange slices. The oranges take longer to dry simply because if their size.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. This trick will help absorb the liquid out of the fruit as it dries.
- Sprinkle each citrus slice with granulated sugar. This not only adds a sweet flavor to the fruit as it is dehydrating, but it adds a “glassy” look to the fruit.
Homemade Dried Citrus
- 1 blood orange thinly sliced
- 1 meyer lemon thinly sliced
- 1 cara cara orange thinly sliced
- granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 215 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Thinly slice citrus and lay on prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with fine sugar and bake for at least 2hours. The thicker the slice and/or bigger the slice, the longer they will need to bake. [My orange slices took closer to 3hrs].
- Use as a garnish in your favorite cocktail or to decorate your favorite dessert!
I’d love to hear from you once you get the chance to make this recipe. Leave a comment below with your review or any modifications you made! And don’t forget to tag @rightbackspatula on Instagram if you take any pictures!