Learn How To Make And Use Dried Lemons
A popular refreshing citrus fruit with a variety of uses, because of its sour taste, lemon is used more as a flavoring than as a fruit eaten on its own. Lemon juice and lemon zest are popular additions to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, and desserts.
Lemon offers many medicinal benefits, and is a well-known source of vitamins, fibers, and various beneficial plant compounds. In fact, citrus fruits are a significant source of vitamin C, containing antioxidants which can help in preventing disease and in supporting your immune system.
A lemon stored in the fridge or in a fruit bowl will only last for a week or two. Ripe citrus fruits contain a large volume of water, which will cause microbial growth, leading to a short shelf life. These fruits are preserved by drying the zest, peel, and sometimes the whole fruit.
In fact, drying lemon or limes for preservation is popular in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and South Asian cuisine.
How Are Dried Lemons Prepared?
There are various ways to dry or dehydrate lemon. Methods include open sun drying, using dehydrators or an oven.
Drying Lemons In The Sun
To sun dry your lemon, slice up the lemon and arrange on a large plate, as per our photo above.
Place the plate in a dry and warm place for a couple of days, until the lemon is dry and crispy. You can use a dry box if you have one and if you don't have one, don’t forget to bring the lemon inside at night to prevent contamination and spoilage by weather or insects. You may choose to dehydrate the lemon further using a dehydrator to make sure that it is dry.
Using a dehydrator or oven to dry lemons
Using a dehydrator or oven is a quick and easy way to dry your lemon. Before drying the lemon, wash it with warm water. Using a sharp knife, peel or slice the citrus. Arrange the fruit in a large flat sheet pan or on dehydrator trays. Place the trays in the dehydrator and dehydrate for six to eight hours at 135 F. Store it in a vacuum sealed container until ready to use.
How Long Will Dried Lemon Last?
Dried lemon can last up to five years, depending on the method of dehydration, moisture content, or storage. When drying your lemon, make sure that it is dry. Dried fruit containing even a small amount of moisture will mold in time.
To make sure that your citrus is dry, press a paper towel against the fruit to detect any moisture. If several wet patches appear on the paper towel, continue drying it until no moisture remains.
In addition, store your dried lemon correctly. Without proper storage oxidation will occur and deteriorate your fruit’s flavor and nutritional content. Vacuum sealed jars are the best option when storing dried fruits since the seal will reduce the oxidation rate and preserve your dried goods longer. Keep the jar stored in a dry and dark cabinet.
If the dried lemon discolors, throw it out.
What Can You Do With Dried Lemons?
If you were an Asian kid who asked your mom for a snack, she was more likely to hand you a piece of dried lemon rather than a piece of candy.
Using the bitter flavor of dried lemon in food can infuse an acidic, bitter taste with a surprising sweetness. It is best used to season stews, fish, soups, and vegetables. It can also add flavor to grilled meat, baked goods, cakes and sauces. We can also add dried lemon slices to water, iced or hot tea.
If you are thinking of using dried lemons, we recommend purchasing pre-prepared Dried Lemon rather than making it yourself. It is quite inexpensive, and the hard work has been done for you.
Do you have any dried lemon recipes to share with our followers? Tag us on Instagram at Snack Hawaii, we will share your recipes with our community!