Cooking Tip– How To Freeze Orange Zest

Welcome to the third installment of Tips and Tricks for Tuesday! This cooking tip is one that I came up with many, many years ago, and I’ve been using it ever since.

I love the fresh flavor of baked goods with citrus. I learned early on in my cooking adventures that if you want great  citrus flavor, you must include the zest in your recipes! Here in Utah, good oranges are only available during the winter months. I have learned to utilize my freezer so that we can have yummy citrus recipes all year long.

Did you know that you can freeze orange, lemon, and lime zest? It freezes well, and lasts for months in an airtight container. Are you ready to try it? Here’s how I do it:

How To Freeze Orange Zest

Wash your orange really well to remove any pesticides. I use dish soap. Rinse and dry, then zest onto a piece of waxed paper or a plate. The zest is just the outside colored part of the skin, you don’t want the bitter white stuff!
how-to-freeze-orange-zestNow take a teaspoon and measure out little spoonfuls of orange zest. Plop them onto a plate that is lined with waxed paper.
how-to-freeze-orange-peelPlace the plate in the freezer for about an hour. Then take the teaspoons of orange zest and put them in an airtight container. Put on the lid and label them if you feel like it. Put the container into the freezer.
cooking tip-zest CollageNow any time you need orange zest for a recipe, you can just grab the amount you need from the freezer!

These are a few of my favorite recipes that call for orange zest:
Orange Cranberry Scones with White Chocolate
Orange White Chocolate Cookies
Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

-This freezing method works just as well with lemons and limes. I keep both a container of orange zest and a container of lemon zest in my freezer.
-The zest from one orange equals about 1 tablespoon, the zest from one lemon equals about 2 teaspoon, and the zest from one lime equals 1-2 teaspoons.
-I usually break up the spoonfuls of frozen zest with a fork before adding them to my recipe.

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  1. I’ve never thought about freezing zest before! Thanks for the idea!

    • Thanks Kara, I have a lemon tree dripping with gold and limes falling off the tree. Ive been freezing the juice but wasn’t sure about the process for zest.

    • I am so very jealous that you have a lemon tree! We can’t even think about growing them here, it’s too cold. :(

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  12. I always say I’m going to zest the lemons & oranges I get, but I never do. But I love your trick of freezing them in little 1 teaspoon increments. As I’m coming down with a cold I just bought a bunch of lemons and oranges, so I will definitely try this tip now. Thanks.

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  14. Ashton Christie says:

    My mother (and now I) buy the little ziploc plastic bags like for jewelry and small parts and then would put the teaspoon of zest in there and then keep the bags in a sandwich sized ziploc in the freezer. She would buy citrus fruits and specifically zest them and juice them and freeze them in portions. I thought I’d be smart and just add it to the store bought juice I already had but evidently there are preservatives in that because both of them fermented. So, I went back to freezing them in ice trays and them putting them in bags for later use.

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