How to Dry Your Lemon Peels for Zero Waste!

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Photo by Colette Krey

Photo by Colette Krey

Lemons have so much to give – much more than just their delightful juice! Our friend Pam Farley of Brown Thumb Mama shared some awesome tips about how she uses her lemon peels. Now, instead of throwing them away, you can try drying them!

How to dry your lemon peels:

  1. First, wash your lemons. Try to use fruits that are organic or haven’t been sprayed. Lemon Tip: Peel them with a vegetable peeler and try to get just the rind, not the white pith layer, which is bitter. 
  2. Place the peels in a single layer in your dehydrator. Dry them for 10-12 hours at 95 degrees. You’ll know they’re completely dry when they snap and don’t bend.
  3. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use the oven! Preheat to 200°F and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until the citrus peels have completely dried out and started to curl up on the edges.
  4. Aren’t they beautiful? You could stop right here and add them to potpourri, or as a fragrant centerpiece with some fresh rosemary.
  5. If you’d like to cook with them, crush the peels and buzz them in your coffee grinder until you get a fine powder.
  6. Store the lemon peel powder in the fridge. It will keep for a year.

Now’s the fun part! There are tons of ways to cook with your dried lemon peels:

  1. Use it in the kitchen! When substituting in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon dried peel for each tablespoon of fresh peel called for in your recipe.
  2. Make your own lemon pepper! Combine 2 tablespoon lemon peel powder and 1 tablespoon pepper; add 1 teaspoon salt if desired
  3. Add a pinch to tea or your homemade salad dressing. It adds a great, new flavor dimension.
  4. Mix with sugar and sprinkle over scones or other baked goods. Try adding some to sugar cookies for a pop of flavor.
  5. Put it on a pie! Add a bit into the crumb topping for an apple crisp.
  6. Add to pudding! Give your vanilla or lemon pudding an extra zing with a dash of lemon peel powder.
  7. Use to brighten the flavor of artichokes! Just add it to the cooking water! 

Have fun cooking with your Imperfect lemons and be sure to follow along with Pam Farley on her blog, Brown Thumb Mama!


  • Lori Parker
    May 31, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Citrus’s claim to fame, vitamin C, is even more potent in the complete peel, meaning the white pith along with the colorful rind. Compared to one wedge of lemon, 1 T. of peel as twice as much vitamin C and three times as much fiber. You’ll also find vitamins A, B6 and B5; calcium; riboflavin; thiamin; niacin; and folate. Rather than tossing the pith into the compost, you can add it to smoothies. For tomorrow’s desert, soak it in honey water (1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon honey) overnight. The next day stuff it, along with some cinnamon and butter, into the center of a cored granny smith apple and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (basting with the juices 2 or 3 times). So, don’t throw away the pith. That would be food-wasteful. -PEACE-

  • Reilly Brock
    May 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful response, Lori. We love how versatile lemons are!


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