Is it okay to freeze citrus zest, specifically orange/clementine zest?

  • Posted by: Tasha
  • March 8, 2016


702551 March 10, 2016
You have options if you want to freeze the zest.

You can 1.) leave as is, 2.) add the zest to the freshly squeezed juice, or 3.) add the zest to water if you don't want the acidity. An ice tube tray can be used for the latter two approaches.
amysarah March 10, 2016
I agree its flavor holds up very well in the freezer for at least a couple of months. Very convenient to have on hand and less wasteful - if I'm squeezing, e.g., a few lemons for a tart, I try to zest them first so all that good stuff doesn't end up in the compost bin. (What's the fruit version of 'nose to tail'?)
dinner A. March 10, 2016
Stem to seed? Peel to pit? :)
amysarah March 10, 2016
I like it, dinner at ten! Catchy name...we're half way to this being a trend!
Windischgirl March 10, 2016
I cut the orange zest in big strips using a potato peeler and froze them. When I need a bit for a recipe, I mince a piece. For a sweet recipe, I grind the zest in a food processor with sugar to chop it. I was hoping freezing strips would preserve relatively more flavor.
Smaug March 8, 2016
It also dries pretty well.
LE B. March 9, 2016
my experience w/ dried zest is that it is not half as flavorful as fresh and frozen zest.
Smaug March 10, 2016
I don't know about half, but it certainly loses something. On the other hand, it's easy to do and keeps pretty well. A lot easier to deal with than a lump of frozen zest. I also like to keep bottles of orange and lemon oil around; serves very well when fresh zest isn't available.
ChefJune March 8, 2016
I agree with Susan W I do it all the time. I hate to use citrus fruits without zesting them first. There are so many great uses for the zest.
Susan W. March 8, 2016
Exactly. Oddly, I've been using zest more often than juice in marinades for chicken, sprinkling in steamed rice, mixing into butter with fresh herbs to use under chicken skin etc. Tangerine peel is awesome in beef stir fry.
Susan W. March 8, 2016
I do it all the time. I buy lemons on sale or my mom sends me a bunch from her tree. I like keeping the zest and juice separate in my freezer. Lemon zest springs right back to life.
702551 March 8, 2016
Sure, but it loses some of its freshness and wonderful aroma.

How much degradation from freezing you will find acceptable versus going out to buy another piece of fresh fruit is really your call.
Recommended by Food52