Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dehydrated Meyer Lemons

Alas, citrus season is brief. Preserve, preserve, preserve!
Dehydrated Meyer Lemons
Dehydrated Meyer lemon slices, ready for all sorts of culinary goodness.
Being well stocked with Meyer lemons during the winter months makes me a bit giddy; they have such a brief season and, especially for us here in the northeast, getting your hands on some is like unearthing culinary gold. But how to preserve that gorgeous flavor for the off-season? Many methods have been tried here in the Slow Club kitchen, preserved Meyer lemons (recipe here), frozen juice, candied peels, dried zest, but until last weekend I'd never tried the dehydrator.

Dehydrator tray lined with freshly sliced Meyer lemons. 
As it often does, inspiration struck during the imbibing of spirits. In my hand was a lemon garnished cocktail and I thought "Argh! Why can't I have Meyer lemons in my drinks all damn year round??" or something to that effect... The answer? Break out the trusty dehydrator! Imagine these beautiful little slices jazzing up your favorite cocktail, zesting (yes, pun intended) up your morning tea or a seasonal fruit dish, flavoring summer fruit preserves or even ground into powder and added to baked goods.

Oh the possibilities! Plus they look beautiful in a jar in your pantry shelf, always a nice bonus. Three lemons filled 2 trays of my dehydrator nicely. You can obviously dehydrate more/ less to your preference. Lemons or other citrus fruits can also be oven dried, though they will not have as long of a shelf life.
Some helpful tips on oven drying via Saving The Season can be found here.

Jarred up and ready for use or pantry storage.
Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons, scrubbed 
and sliced 1/4" thick

Slice lemons and place in a single layer directly on dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate at 135 degrees for about 16 hours.
 Once lemons are dry, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Make sure lemons have completely dried before storing.
If any moisture remains, they could mold or spoil. 

Quick tip: save moisture absorbing silica packets leftover from other dried packaged foods (they often come in things like seaweed snacks and rice crackers) and pop them into the jar before sealing. This will keep your lemons and other homemade dehydrated foods crisp and fresh infinitely longer. 

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