Making orange zest

When I got my dehydrator, I didn’t expect it to be so fun or so frugal!  For years I thought of it as a luxury item and couldn’t see a practical value in it, but I’m now enjoying proving myself wrong and finding new uses for it.

I bought these gorgeous navel oranges, with thick clean peels, and it occurred to me that maybe I could dry them to make orange zest that would be used for baking.  At first I sliced them into small pieces, since I didn’t want to make them so small that they’d fall through the spaces in the drying tray.  But even though things shrink substantially when dehydrated, they’re still a little too big to use as zest (funnily enough, my baby thinks these are a super treat!).  Then my dd14 put the next peels into the food processor with the ‘S’ blade, and put them on top of the paraflex sheet (that’s intended for making fruit leathers) that covers the regular dehydrator tray.  That worked perfectly, and the final result is a perfect orange zest, just like you’d buy in the store.  It’s a nice feeling, turning something you would have thrown away into something of value.

I don’t like to run the dehydrator just for a small quantity of something, because it seems to me an inefficient use of energy – I made these because there was one unused tray that afternoon that wasn’t needed when drying all the shredded broccoli stems that I experimented on the same day. :)  Those turned out great, too.


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