Can You Freeze Zest? Yes, You Should Freeze Citrus Zest To Never Run Out

Can You Freeze Zest?: Cooking a delicious dish, but the only ingredient you’re missing from the recipe is the fresh citrus zest? Worry not; with a little preparation and forethought, you can have zest on hand anytime you need it.

One easy solution is to freeze the fresh zest. If you have frozen zest readily available, you won’t be required to buy fruit specifically for zesting each time you bake a dish. Therefore, if you have some citrus in the kitchen, simply zest it before extracting the juice or eating an orange, and you’ll never run out of fresh zest again.

Can You Freeze Zest

Can You Freeze Zest?

Yes, you can surely freeze zest for up to 6 months. Luckily, all citrus zest, including that from lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges can be frozen. We will see the best freezing method, defrosting, ways to use the leftover zest, and much more later on in this article.

You’ll find that orange, lemon, and lime peels are called for most often in recipes, but the same freezing method can be used to freeze the zest of any type of citrus fruit. So follow our guidelines and freeze the citrus zest in the best possible manner. Let’s dive right in!

How To Freeze Citrus Zest?

It is easiest to remove the peel from citrus fruits before cutting them open or removing the peel. Follow the below-given steps, and in just a few minutes, you can have zest ready for the freezer:

  • Step 1: Wash the citrus fruit thoroughly and allow it to dry thoroughly prior to zesting.
  • Step 2: Remove the zest with a Microplane, zester, or vegetable peeler prior to juicing or cutting the fruit. Always make sure not to take any of the bitter white pith with the zest; you only want the colorful skin.
  • Step 3: Spread the zest in a single layer on a piece of parchment or waxed paper and quickly freeze it.
  • Step 4: After flash freezing, transfer the zest to a zip-top plastic bag. Label it with the date and type of citrus zest, and store it in the freezer. The zest will keep frozen for about six months if kept tightly sealed such that there is no entry of moisture or air into the freezer bag.

Tip: Also, if you’re just harvesting the zest, don’t throw the rest of the fruit away. Juicing citrus is easy, and you may bottle the juice or use it right away in food recipes or drinks.

How To Freeze Zest In Ice Cubes?

If you are going to stir your zest into stews, rice dishes, or soups, then you can freeze them in the form of ice cubes. Just follow the below-given instructions:

  • Grate: As you’ve probably guessed, start by grating the zest of whichever citrus fruit you wish to freeze.
  • Fill the Ice Cube Tray: Once you’ve got your zest, fill it into the slots of an ice cube tray. You should fill each slot about two-thirds of the way.
  • Top up with Water: Once filled with zest, top each slot up with water, then wrap the tray in cling film to keep it protected.
  • Flash Freeze: Place the tray in the freezer. Keep it in the freezer for several hours so that the ice cubes freeze solid.
  • Final Freeze: Once solid, you can pop the ice cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag for easier long-term storage.

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How Long Can You Freeze Zest?

There’s good news: zest can keep for an impressively long time in the freezer. More precisely, you’ll be fine leaving it in the freezer for 6 months. The zest will remain completely safe to eat for months if frozen properly. However, after this time, there is a risk that the flavor will begin to degrade.

You may wonder how long zest lasts in the fridge. Well once the zest has been taken off the fruit, it will only last for around 1 or 2 days in the fridge. It will very quickly degrade in flavor when stored in the refrigerator. Thus, for long-term storage, it’s best to store the citrus zest in a freezer.

Zest Shelf Life 
In the fridge About 6 months
In the Refrigerator Around 1 to 2 days

How Do You Defrost Zest?

As the zest is so fine, you might not even need to defrost it. You can stir an ice cube into a cooking pot, and it’ll melt almost instantly.

When using pieces of zest in a cake, give it a few minutes to soften so that you can break it apart easily, and then stir it into your dessert or cake batter.

Can You Refreeze Zest?

We would advise not to refreeze the zest. Simply because when you refreeze anything, you draw the moisture out. By refreezing zest, you’ll draw the moisture out and lose some of the flavors and thus the quality will degrade rapidly.

The only way out is if you have frozen the zest and then used it in another dish that you wish to freeze, such as biscuits or soup.

Get to know interesting articles like Can You Freeze Watermelon to get a better idea of how to freeze the fruit and how it impacts the shelf life.

Does Zest Freeze Well?

Yes, zest freezes particularly well. Just don’t leave it sitting in the freezer for months and months, and keep the freezer bag tightly sealed, or you’ll struggle with the quality degradation. Sometimes you may need to snap it off, as it can freeze into a clump depending on the zest’s water content.

When frozen properly, you won’t even find any difference between freshly grated zest and frozen zest. Thus, use the method we’ve explained here on this page, and your zest will hold onto its citrus flavor and color while sitting in the freezer, ready and waiting to be used by you anytime.

What To Do With Leftover Zest?

Citrus zest alone can add a fresh flavor to both sweet and savory foods. Check out our favorite uses for different types of zest:

  • Orange Zest: A delicious dish that orange zest is ideal for is hazelnut-orange biscotti, as its strong, aromatic flavor can stand up to the extended cook time.
  • Lemon Zest: The kick of lemon zest in sweet desserts is well known, especially with classic lemon bars. Alternatively, you may give sautéed sugar snap peas a try to see how lemon zest brightens a savory dish, too.
  • Lime Zest: Lime zest enlivens the cumin-crusted chicken thighs when stirred in off heat along with fresh mint; you should definitely not miss out on this.
  • Grapefruit Zest:  Interestingly, grapefruit zest pairs well with tangy buttermilk in an elegant Panna Cotta with Caramel Coated Almonds dessert.
  • Any Type Of Zest: Gremolata is a versatile, powerhouse sauce that can be augmented by citrus zest. You can also try the lemon tarragon or mint orange flavor combinations atop roasted asparagus.

FAQs On Freezing Zest

1. Can You Freeze Any Fruit Zest?

Yes, whether it’s lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, the zest of any citrus fruit can be frozen in an ice cube tray. It will retain its flavor for around 6 months at best.

2. Can You Freeze Lemon and Orange Zest Together?

Yes, you can freeze zests from a range of fruits in combination. You can combine lemon, lime, and orange or any other zest, together.

3. Can you freeze lemons after Zesting?

Yes, to freeze whole lemons that you’ve grated the zest from, wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent drying out. Then tuck the wrapped lemons into freezer bags, remove as much air as you can, and place them in the freezer.

4. Is it safe to consume frozen fruit zest?

Yes, frozen zest is safe to eat. If you don’t have a use for the zest immediately, simply freeze it. Frozen zest keeps for months and months —and you’ll always have a container of gloriously bright flavor crystals on hand to freshen up your cooking.

Wrapping Up

Be it any fruit, lemon, orange, lime, etc, zest is so healthy and freezes beautifully. Unless you plan to use the zest right away, stashing large containers of citrus peel in your freezer is a great way to preserve their flavor until the day it’s needed.

So what are you waiting for? Follow the instructions mentioned in this article and freeze those zests. Then, whenever you need some zest, grab some from the freezer bag. If you try out our guidelines, do let us know your experience of freezing the zest by leaving a comment below. Keep checking out our new articles like Can You Freeze Grapes and for the latest updates don’t forget to follow our website.

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