How to Dry Zest for Tea

Posted by Angela Diaz on June 5, 2015 at 9:30 AM

     One thing I've become interested in lately is tea.  Teas have so many different medicinal benefits and healthy qualities.  I've been experimenting with different flavors of teas over the winter.  I got to thinking...I wonder if I can Make my own tea?  I started looking at the different ingredients in teas and found many are repetitive in different teas (lemon grass for example is found in many teas).   It seems teas can be made from just about anything herbal (such as raspberry leaves and even dry onion skins!).  I've been drying and keeping in mason jars various items to mix and match to make teas (dandelion heads, spearmint, peppermint, orange and lemon zest, etc).  

I'm going to share what I've been experimenting with as far as drying orange zest for teas. 

1. Clean the orange well

2. It's easier to zest it while the orange is intact rather than peeling the orange first and then trying to grate or zest the peels.

3. If you don't have a citrus zester (which can be found in many stores for a few bucks), a cheese grater works fine. 

4. If using a cheese grater, the side that one would normally use to grate mozarella or cheddar for pizza or lasagna is the best size.  I've found that the one size smaller gratings were very sticky when they were drying and would stick together in weird clumps.  

5.  After grating or zesting the peels (being careful not to get the white part of the orange in the gratings), I lay the shreds on a plate or bowl and cover with a paper towel (keeps dust from getting in there).  I stir up the shreds every day or every other day to make sure all sides are drying.  After about three days it should be dry.  You'll know because the skins will be hard and crunchy and won't stick to the plate or each other. I put them in a mason jar with a lid and keep in the cabinet (dry, dark place).  

Below are some pictures.  The second picture shows the difference between the small gratings, the better larger shreds, and then some freshly zested strands.  

1. Zesting with box grater

2. Difference between three different zested sizes

3. Using regular zester tool (best option in my opinion)


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