Last Friday, in the process of testing four recipes for the cookbook, I found myself awash in Meyer lemon zest. Knowing that I needed to juice 20 Meyers, I made sure to zest each one beforehand so as not to waste a drop of those precious babies. Because I had no time to be fussy, I split the zest into two piles and made quick work of it.
I tossed the first mound of fragrant, juicy zest with three cups of plain sugar. Spread between this jar and a smaller one, I’m currently entertaining fantasies of sprinkling some across the tops of scones just before they go into the oven or rimming cocktail glasses with it when the weather gets warmer.
And the other portion of zest? Layered in a jar with kosher salt, for serving with fish and boosting the flavor of salad dressings.
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to wait for those times when you’re wealthy in Meyer lemons to do something like this. Next time you go to juice a lemon, scrape the zest off with a microplane or even a vegetable peeler. In the beginning choose either salt or sugar and begin popping your unneeded zest into the jar each time you cook. Soon enough, you’ll have effortlessly made a jar or two of these flavor enhancers.
I did the same thing with my Meyer lemon zest–I only needed the juice but I made sure to scrape the zest off first! I dried it slightly in the fridge and have been adding it to oatmeal every morning. Delish!
Again, fantastic! Why am I not zesting every lemon? I received a gift of lemon-infused salt at Christmas and I adore it.
Wonderful idea! I also freeze the leftover peels to make the “Leche Merengada” for Flan. I bet the lemon sugar would be a great addition to the milk when making my hubby’s favorite dessert.
This is a great idea, but what about the fact that most lemons, whether Meyer or otherwise, that come from the supermarket are waxed? I recently bought a bag of Meyer lemons from Whole Foods in order to make marmalade. I asked someone from the produce department if they were waxed and he indicated that they were.
I’ve heard that if you wash them in very hot water and scrub them, it takes most of the wax off. I usually do this to most of my citrus anyhow…
You can also do it with fresh herbs. I had some scented “geraniums” and chopped some leaves up and added it to salt, great on popcorn for just a touch of flavor.
Great idea! And David4 is right, you can make this with everything, herbs or flower…I’m dreaming about rose flavour now…
you can just leave this sitting out on the counter? I don’t mean to sound skeptical, I’m just concerned that this would get moldy just sitting out like that 🙁 Is there a way to dry out the zest beforehand? How long will it keep for? I have a big box of oranges I could try this with, but I don’t want it to go bad!
Lovely idea. This would be a welcome stash in my house!
I’ve made a lime salt for sprinkling on fresh made tortilla chips. They’re fantastic that way.
I just had an ‘Ah-ha’ moment, I zest and freeze it for cooking later. I zest and put it in sugar but I NEVER even THOUGHT of putting it in SALT! Fabulous!!
Thanks for the idea of putting the zest with salt! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve always seen it flavoring sugar and I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible but I can think of tons of ways to use lemon (or maybe clementine) salt.
Wonderful! Do you need to refrigerate, or does the salt/sugar act as enough of a preservative?
I’m curious as to how long you can store zested sugar/salt. Is there a shelf life? It’s a great idea and I just happen to be awash in Meyer lemons myself.
Mmm, great idea! I usually zest mine and freeze the zest, but I’ll do some sugar or salt with the pile of lemons I have staring me in the face! =)
wow this looks GREAT!!!
I especially like the idea of the sugar. I’ve been using the zest of lemons for making limoncello. In fact, today I poured off the meyer-lemon-infused grain alcohol and combined it with simple syrup. In 4 months, I’ll have limoncello–just in time for summer!
I love flavored sugars. Unlike vanilla, however, I found that the zest in sugar was at its tastiest when fairly fresh. After a couple months, the oils have faded and your sugar has only a subtle flavor to of citrus.
What if you were to add the zest to the salt or sugar, then freeze it? If sealed properly, that should keep the zest flavorful, shouldn’t it?
Check out Lime Sugar Cookies at Epicurious. Could just as well be Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies. The lime ones are delicious.
PS: picked up a bag of organic oranges at Whole Foods today and I’ll be zesting for a batch of orangecello tomorrow.
For those of you who freeze your zest… how do you do it? Do you keep it loose in a container, measure it into teaspoons?
What a terrific and simple idea! This would be wonderful in lemon sugar cookies or the salted version on fish or chicken used in a summer salad.
These looks pretty AND tasty. 🙂 But what if you have the opposite problem of abundance? Example, I’ve found a recipe for lemoncello that requires the zest only of 18 lemons. Then what? Should I juice them and freeze the juice for later? What else is good?
I’ve been freezing my zest double bagged in ziplock, and with excess juice I made a syrup (from The Joy of Jams). I’d also love to hear a rough “use by” date so I can make up some sugar or sugar but not let it get past its prime.
Ah – lemon salt… WHY have I not thought of this before?? I wish I had some going for my grilled perch tonight. The sugar I would have to think about. Besides a rimmed glass I am having trouble thinking of something.
Oh good, your working on a book. I’m going to have to get myself a copy! YES!
Mrs. Q, you make me blush. I can’t wait to get a copy of YOUR book!
I love this tip! What a great way to not let all that precious citrus go to waste!
wow this is a fabulous idea..
Even when the Meyer lemons come from my parents’ tree, the zest seems too precious to waste. Only the pith is composted! I usually make limoncello, and last week I made lemon meringues, but I love the idea of lemon salt!
Recommendations for storing lemon salt or lemon sugar? I made a lemon salt 2 days ago and kept it in a small stainless steel container at room temperature and there is already mold inside. Should I have kept it in the fridge? Did I not add enough salt?
It may be that you didn’t add enough salt. There’s about ten times as much salt as there is zest in my jar.
I am on the way to the same issue as Jessalyn. I see that the inside of the jar has formed condensation – not a good sign!! Should we smoosh the zest with the sugar or salt and then let it air dry a bit first? I did use a 1/2 tsp of it (I did the salt) in some avocado-yogurt dressing I made and it was delicious! But I’m afraid I shouldn’t use it anymore. Please help!
Hmm, I really don’t know why you’re experiencing condensation. You could spread it out on a baking sheet and let it dry out for a bit before putting it back in the jar. You could even bake it at the lowest temperature your oven has for 10 or 15 minutes to help encourage the moisture away. Make sure to let it cool completely before packing it back into the jar.
There’s about a dozen questions above asking you about the shelf life and drying techniques but you’re just ignoring them. Shame. Love to try it but would like to know how long it will last and where should the items be stored. Otherwise love your blog.
Thanks! I am doing this for sure! I love Meyer lemons, this is wonderful.
For those still looking for an answer on shelf life, you really need to dry the mixture in a low oven to make sure the zest doesn’t go bad. It’s best to use your hands to really work the zest completely into the salt or sugar so that the oils infuse, and then use a dehydrator or low oven setting to dry it out. Every other recipe out there calls for this process.
The skin is so thin on the Sam’s Club Meyers Lemons that I just found that they don’t seem to “zest” … is the white inner layer really too bitter to use with these lemons ? I made some marmelade with the first box and it came out tres delish ! Have simple syrup cooling now to try a sorbet.
Back again. The sorbet was FANTASTIC ! Made it with the pithy skin and seemed not to be bitter. Tried some with summer frozen strawberries accompanyment and felt like the Test Kitchen Cooks yumming and eyeglass pushing (G).
Is there a ratio?
Have a Joyful Day :~D
Honestly, I’ve never really measured this one and it’s been two years since I made this, so I have no recollection as to my proportions. So sorry.
I tried this years ago and the zest turned and I had to throw away the sugar. I love the idea but when damp meets dry you get clumps. I’m mastered that by allowing the zest to dry, not overnight and not in the oven, I left it out for a few hours and then combined it with the sugar. As for the salt, I did the same thing. I love Meyer Lemons, the sweet juice is extracted and I always zest them. Having two Meyer Lemon trees I utilize every single lemon. Another person said to scrub them in hot water if purchased at a store, I use FIT and it works for me. Actually not one vegetable or piece of fruit I buy doesn’t get the FIT treatment.
How much salt do you mix with the curd?
There is no mention of curd in this blog post, so I’m not sure what you’re asking. My apologies that I don’t understand.
How long can lemon zest in sugar last at room temperature?
Three months at room temp is what I typically do.