It’s unfortunate that we’re not supposed to eat sugar anymore, because at this time of year I’m zesting citrus like mad and there’s nothing like a little (or a lot of) sugar to tame the delectable bitterness of orange and lemon peels. Think marmalade, think lemon-olive oil cake, think whole wheat quick bread with orange zest and brown sugar. Need more ideas? I loved this recent post from Food In Jars.This isn’t a recipe so much as a good idea: before the next time you peel or juice a (washed, organic) lemon or orange, scrub off the zest with a microplane first. Zest the fruit directly into a bowl to catch every drop of oil and essence from the peel. Add sugar. For this batch I added 1/2 c. granulated sugar to the zest of one orange and half a lemon. Mash it around to help the sugar absorb the flavor of the zest, then leave the bowl uncovered at room temperature for a day or two, stirring occasionally, until the zest is completely dry. Transfer to a sealed jar for storage.
So far my favorite use is grinding the sugar in a mortar and pestle or food processor to use in my coffee or tea. (If you don’t grind it, you’ll end up with chewy little zest floaties; ask me how I know!) You can also use the sugar for flavor and decoration atop glazed citrus cakes or cookies, or to dunk strawberries, or sprinkled onto white chocolate-covered matzo for a Passover treat. And of course a jar of this sugar makes a handsome but inexpensive homemade gift.Any other ideas for using citrus zest or this citrus sugar? I have an ever-growing supply.