Anyone who’s made a round of cocktails knows that garnishing your glass with a sliver of a lemon, lime, or orange is the perfect finishing touch. But despite the added flavor and visual appeal, citrus garnishes can create a fair amount of food waste.
Here are four preservation methods to make the most out of your citrus fruits long after you’ve thrown back a drink or two.
If you don’t plan to use the rest of your citrus within the next couple of days, the freezer is your friend. Store your fruits whole in a freezer-safe container or bag; alternatively, slice them up, flash- freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer them to a container. Just plan ahead to defrost your fruit for at least a few hours before the next happy hour.
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Store it in high humidity
If you’re storing your citrus in the fridge, be sure to do so in a sealed, moist environment. Slicing your fruit into wedges, wrapping each piece in Saran Wrap, and placing them in a sealed Ziploc bag will ensure that your citrus maintains its moisture, maximizing the juice output of your fruit. And if you’ve only used a few peels from your citrus, store your whole citrus in a bowl of water in the fridge to keep it fresh for up to three months.
Or, Dehydrate it
Dehydrated citrus makes for a beautiful cocktail garnish and boasts a shelf life of up to five years with proper moisture-free storage. If you don’t have a dehydrator, slice your fruit into quarter-inch slices, toss it on a baking sheet, and pop in an oven preheated to 170 degrees. Baking time varies by citrus — expect to wait between three and nine hours — but the versatile and visually pleasing end result is well worth the effort.
Candy the peels
With just sugar and a saucepan, you can turn your citrus peels into a delectable treat. Slice the remaining citrus into strips, cook them down in boiling water, and add them to sugar and water in another saucepan until they turn translucent. After letting them dry, coat the peels in sugar for a sweet finishing touch.