Dehydrating Meyer Lemons and Limes

dehydrating lemons

It’s been spring for more than two weeks now, but today I finally felt it. I walked to work without a coat, though my down-the-hall neighbor did raise an eyebrow at my wardrobe choice as we rode the elevator downstairs together (my mother need not worry, living in a building with hundreds of retired Jewish women means I never lack for vocal commentary on my seasonal appropriateness. I have been told to go home and get an umbrella on multiple occasions).

dehydrating lemons

Last week, before this balmy weather arrived, I was doing everything I could to brighten both my mood and the state of the kitchen and so tackled one final citrus preservation project. This one is so easy that I feel a little silly even mentioning it, but the pictures came out so nicely that it would be a shame not to share them.

dehydrating lemons

I scrubbed two pounds of citrus (half Meyer lemons, half limes), dried them and cut them into slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. I pulled out my very basic dehydrator, laid the slices out on the trays and dehydrated them for 18 hours on the 135 degree setting.

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Stashed in tightly sealed jars, these slices should last for a very long time. I like to pop one into the water bottle I use each day, so that it rehydrates and gently scents the water with the flavor of fruit.

A few thoughts. If you do this, make sure to keep them going until they are entirely dry. Leaving them with any liquid means you run the risk of having them go bad quite soon. Store them out of the sunlight to further extend their lifespan. The one thing I haven’t done yet that I’m planning on trying is to pulverize them in a food process or blender and see if I can’t make citrus powder with them. I think that would be a nice touch in salad dressings and other good stuff.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, I’ve heard that you can achieve a similar effect in a very low oven (I have not tried it, but Kevin West has). Make sure to put the fruit on a rack so that the air can circulate and moisture can evaporate. I bet a convection oven would do a good job as well.

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42 Responses to Dehydrating Meyer Lemons and Limes

  1. 1
    Toni says:

    I dry lemons, oranges and limes every year. It is great to add a few slices to any soup, or braised foods while I am cooking them. They soften and eventually disintegrate leaving behind their tangy flavor. Delicious!

    • 1.1
      Ad says:

      Does anyone know if it works to just dry the inside, in sections? I think that would make the resulting lemon and orange sections less acidy? Or is nothing left of the lemons/oranges if done this way?

      • Gena says:

        I’ve seen lemons, oranges, limes, etc completely skinned of the peel using the sharp knife/cut off top and bottom/slice off skin all around technique. There was quite a bit of citrus left (only the skin and pith was removed).

        The fruit was sliced in 1/4 inch slices then dehydrated. They looked very nice. They were so dried they clicked when dropped on countertop.

        A VERY sharp knife is required.

        The video said to store in glass jars with oxygen absorbers and they lasted over a year.

  2. 2
    Christine says:

    Nice. I put slices of lime into some Kadota fig preserves I made last year and just that hint of lime is so tantalizing. I’m also glad I’m not the only one who thought I’d die an old woman before this winter ended (is it really over?).

  3. 3
    meemsnyc says:

    Oooh, I have both a meyer lemon and meyer lime tree but it has never produced fruit for me. I hope it does this year so that I can try this. Looks so amazing!

  4. 4
    Kate says:

    This weekend I had a bag of meyer lemons in my hand at the grocery store. They looked so beautiful but I thought “what in the world would I do with these?” so I put them back. Now you’ve given me the answer! Great idea.

  5. 5
    Jess says:

    I dried a number of lemons & oranges this year to decorate our Christmas tree with… lovely. Thanks for posting this little tutorial!

  6. 6

    Ooooo! Now you have me thinking. Suppose I could make citrus powder to make my own summer lemonade & limeade? Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  7. 7
    Carly says:

    They are so beautiful! This post made me think of the jewelry a local artist friend of mine makes–earring and necklaces crafted from sections of fruit, mainly citrus. She coats her’s with a resin and viola: fun, lightweight jewelry. http://www.etsy.com/listing/67368467/blood-orange-earrings-fruit-jewelry

  8. 8
    Dawn says:

    If using the oven-drying method, do be mindful of the type of rack/pan you place the fruits on. The acids can really do a number on certain types of metals. And unfortunately that is experience speaking. I have ground dried limes before to make my own lime pepper. If you break them up and put them in a coffee grinder it works pretty well.

  9. 9
    Cynthia says:

    I have used the oven method and the trick is to leave the oven door slightly ajar (I used and oven mitt to prop open) so that the steam created by the heated fruit doesn’t get trapped in the oven.

  10. 10
    Penny says:

    Everyone in our family loves lemons, and I take a bottle of water with me everywhere I go. Great way to always have lemon available to pop into the water bottle rather than keep cutting up a fresh one.

    Great suggestion.

    Penny

    Coffee Brewers

  11. 11
    Rebecca says:

    I ended up with three products out of my citrus-drying spree: beautiful wheels like yours, dust, and dried peel. The wheels are great to snack on as is and brilliant roughly crumbled into a salad.
    http://eatingfloyd.blogspot.com/2010/12/of-cranberries-clementines.html

    The dust made both a tasty marinade and rub for salmon, and I’ve used it with great success in baked goods.
    http://eatingfloyd.blogspot.com/2011/02/spice-rack-challenge-february-citrus.html

  12. 12

    Perfect timing…I just snipped the last of the Meyer’s off of my tree on Sunday. And I don’t think it’s too basic…if Giada can share it on her cooking show…you can share it here! (Now…if I could just remember what she DID with them!)

  13. 13
    julia says:

    great idea! i wonder what else you could do with them besides putting in water (though, i love that too).

    • 13.1
      Gena says:

      Soak for a few minutes in warm water then lay on top of fish being broiled, grilled or baked in paper. I usually layer the fish with about 6-8 slices to get a really good tart flavor going on.

      I’ve also soaked them, chopped them and put about 1/2 – 1 tsp into salad dressings. They work really well chopped up in vinaigrettes.

      I’ve also used them in foot baths. Run the hot water, throw in about 10 slices, let water sit until right temp for feet then sit down with a good book while feet get pampered. At the end I buff feet with a pumice stone and rub with raw cucumber slices, then olive or argon oil and put on my socks for bed. Delightful!!! And the bedroom smells so good that night!

  14. 14

    What a terrific idea, I would always have lemon for my water! I have preserved lemons, but then they take a different flavor, these would still be just lemons.

    -Brenda

  15. 15

    Thank you for this “how to” on dehydrating Meyer lemons. Plus, those photos? They’re stunning. Absolutely.

    Every year I host a potluck dinner where everyone is asked to bring a Meyer lemon dish, from entrees to desserts. Everything has to have Meyer lemons in it. I just know your dehydrated Meyer lemons will be the talk of the party.

    Loads of appreciative applause in advance from my potluck guests to you,
    Cecily

  16. 16
    Aubrey says:

    These are so pretty, I love the idea of having dried citrus at the ready anytime! I may have to try the low oven technique.

  17. 17
    Mavis says:

    I see you got a review copy of Russo’s Encyclopedia of Sandwiches too :) Your pictures really are lovely. Putting them in your water is a great idea. I’m glad you decided to share this one.

  18. 18
    Linda Federer says:

    They look GREAT, thanks so much for sharing and so happy to have found you. I have an excaliber dehydrator, but it is in Washington, am here in Calif for the Winter, Spring. Think I will go to walmart and find another one for here.

  19. 19

    […] Dehydrating Meyer Lemons and Limes. I love having lemons and limes on hand, but they often tend to go off before I think to use them. I […]

  20. 20
    Sandra Ley says:

    My gas oven’s lowest setting is 170 degrees F. Would that temp not be too hot in which to dry anything, fruit or vegetable?

    • 20.1
      mary w says:

      Does your oven have a “warm” setting? On mine it’s a separate button. It took me a loooong time before I noticed that setting.

      Or as someone above noted, leave the door ajar.

  21. 21
    Patrick says:

    I dry lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit slices like this a lot. Once dried they store a long time and, with sugar and water and some boiling time I have some pretty incredible candied fruit around. I have never pulverized the slices but I like the idea. If I were to do so, though, I think I would dry the zest and the fruit separately & discard the pith so that the pulverized dust wouldn’t be bitter.

    • 21.1
      Stacy says:

      I agree with this. I dried oranges, lemons and limes not knowing what would happen. the pith is so bitter it makes the pulverized dust taste horrible. not like the fruit at all

  22. 22
    Allison says:

    These photos are beautiful. And I love the idea of popping one of these into my water every day. What else do you use them for?

  23. 23
    HankShaw says:

    What are you going to do with your dried lemons? I have a whole tree of them needing to be put to good use, and there are only so many preserved lemons I can eat…

    • 23.1
      Marisa says:

      So far, I’ve packaged them into small jars to give as gifts and have dropped them into many a glass of water. I still have plans to pulverize some to use in marinades and salad dressings. Along the way, someone made the suggestion of including a few in the stock making process, to help draw out more nutrition from the bones.

  24. 24
    Bramble Oak says:

    What a great idea!!! I will have to try this. There are so many ways to use the dried fruit and my family loves lemons. Thanks for sharing.

  25. 25

    […] Until I saw dehydrated lemons and limes on Food in Jars. […]

  26. 26

    […] for the trail – including tomato paste. I really like Marisa at Food in Jars’ idea of dehydrating winter citrus for use later on. Though I don’t have a dehydrator at the moment, I do have a limited budget […]

  27. 27
    Jas says:

    These look beautiful! But I had to laugh at the comment about your neighbor’s commentary on your clothing. I ran into the same thing every day from the 93 year old jewish lady who lived downstairs from me during my time in Philly. And god forbid, I should lose weight, she’d try to feed me!

    Hmm.. now I want a dehydrator. I just saw 2 lbs of key limes for sale at the dollar store (of all places!) for 99 cents.

  28. 28

    […] of undue stress) was to slice and dehydrate most of them as Well Preserved  and Food in Jars have […]

  29. 29

    […] Dehydration is another great option for preserving some types of fruit.   Slices of lemons and limes can be dehydrated and stored in jars for later use in flavoring water.  Oranges and grapefruits are not great candidates for dehydration. […]

  30. 30
    Jimmie Pickles says:

    I dehydrate lemons and take them to work, they make a great snack food.

  31. 31

    […] a glass of fizzy water. Often I drink it plain, or with a squirt of lemon juice (one of these dehydrated lemon slices works too). Sometimes, I muddle a little bit of runny jam into my glass (it’s a great way to […]

  32. 32
    Megan says:

    I peel my citrus, slice it and take as much pith (white stuff) off of both the fruit and the peel. A steak knife scrapes it nicely off of the peel. Then I dehydrate them separately. Afterward, I use the lemon for water, etc. But I put the peel in the blender, grind it down as finely as I can. Voila! Instant orange, lemon and lime zest! For any recipe that requires zest and for a good old inhale from the jar on those gloomy winter days. Aroma therapy at its best.

  33. 33

    […] the lemons arrive, I make marmalade, jelly, dehydrated citrus slices, curd, and salt preserved lemons. It’s a joy to spend those hours squirreling away all the […]

  34. 34

    No dehydrator? No problem. A parked car will serve just fine for drying whatever you like, including laundry. A couple of days sitting in the sun, especially in a paved parking lot, will usually do it, or at least get stuff to the point where the drying will finish in ordinary air.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Monica says:

    There are no directions for the link you gave on drying the fruits in an oven. Typical temp is between 110-135, if your oven goes that low. I was hoping it showed an exact temp, but it didn’t.

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