Lemons brighten up savory and sweet dishes alike as well as offer a variety of nutritional benefits. They are often used for their juice while the peels get thrown in the trash. However, the citrus peels are a practical cooking ingredient that are often underutilized.
Check out these five unexpected ways to use lemon peels and craft some tasty dishes. These five options offer something for every resourceful cook in the kitchen from fresh fruit and roasted vegetables to homemade tea.
1. Greek Yogurt
Lemon adds a burst of acidity to Greek yogurt. Making zest is the best way to blend the peels into the creamy texture. If you do not own a zester, use a peeler to remove the lemon skin and a sharp knife or food processor to finely chop the peels.
#Spoon tip: Try adding zest to berry-based yogurts. Raspberry Siggi’s pairs nicely with fresh lemon zest.
2. Oven-roasted Vegetables
Lemon peels add flavor and seasoning to oven-roasted vegetables. Scatter them throughout an oven-safe dish and follow recipe directions.
#Spoon tip: Try oven-roasted cauliflower, grape tomatoes and kale with sliced lemon peels, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 45 minutes at 375ºF.
Blend lemon peels into a smoothie. The peels add a citrus flavor, especially to smoothies that use milk rather than juice for a liquid base. The blender chops up the lemon peels, so simply toss in slices with the smoothie ingredients.
#Spoon tip: Try lemon peels in a kale-based smoothie. Fresh citrus brightens up a hearty vegetable-based blend.
4. Lemon Ginger Tea
While you can easily purchase various assortments of citrus tea, try making your very own. Finely chop or process lemon peels and ginger. Leave a portion of the peels as whole slices (about 4-5 thin slices per 8 oz. cup of tea). Let the lemon and ginger steep in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes.
#Spoon tip: Lemons act as a base for multiple teas. If you do not have ginger on-hand, try incorporating fresh basil or mint. An even simpler option includes only lemons and a bit of honey.
5. Tomato Avocado Salad
Lemon peels add acidity to a variety of salads. Try diced tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado over a bed of kale with fresh basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Get more bang for your buck by incorporating lemon juice and olive oil into a dressing. Try this salad on its own or as a makeshift salsa.
#Spoon tip: Lemon peels work with a variety of diced produce, so incorporate fresh and seasonal options. In the summertime, try this recipe with tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and basil.
Citrus fruits are not simply for juicing. We all love a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade in the summertime. Instead of throwing away the rest of the lemon, try one of these 5 unexpected ways to use lemon peels. These resourceful alternatives apply to all sorts of citrus fruits and can be used in recipes beyond the realm of juice. Fully utilizing the fresh produce in the pantry brightens up your dishes and savviness in the kitchen.