can you zest lemons one day ahead of using it? how do you store it for one day?

i am trying to do some prep work one day ahead for multiple recipes. will lemon zest last overnight in the fridge or will it dry out?

Lauren Isenhour


Elizabeth M. April 5, 2019
Cooks illustrated says it lasts a week if frozen, but loses its punch if just refrigerated.
DonnaCrocker March 22, 2014
They would dry out and the oil would be lost. I would do it when actually preparing your dish.
lem M. March 21, 2014
if you are using it for sweets, you can mix the fresh zest with sugar and rub them well together so all the fragrant citrus oils are absorbed by the sugar, which can be stored in an air-tight container without any problems. the same process works with salt, but i often want to add more zest to a dish than the amount of salt in that same dish would absorb…
nancy E. March 20, 2014
You cannot pre zest citrus peel. it is a volatile oil and the flavours leave quickly. Zesting should always be a last second thing you do.
Monita March 20, 2014
Good tip Fiona. Thanks

Voted the Best Reply!

Fiona S. March 20, 2014
I regularly freeze lemon zest (or orange or lime!) and use it at a later date. Zest and put in a small plastic container in freezer. Take it out of freezer a couple minutes before you need it, it'll defrost in no time and won't be dry!
Monita March 20, 2014
I find they dry out really fast. I wouldn't zest ahead
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