I hate reading a recipe in a magazine or blog in July or August that calls for orange or grapefruit juice. I cheat on our seasonal eating and get citrus from the citrus truck that comes up here once a month during the winter months, but I definitely don’t have access to citrus in the middle of the summer. I have discovered a little trick that works in many recipes that call for just a bit of citrus. Right now, when we typically are still working through our stash from the citrus truck, I zest the oranges and grapefruits before eating them – and then I put the “zest” in the freezer for later use. I used to just compost the peels (and the worms don’t like citrus, so I had to take the peels out back to the regular compost bins where they don’t really break down until spring comes anyway), so I figured I might as well spend a few extra minutes to get another use out of them. Through trial-and-error, I’ve figured out that it is better to use a vegetable peeler than the microplane/zester that you would normally use to zest citrus because the pieces are so minuscule that they all clump together in the freezer. Instead, I use a vegetable peeler, which makes for bigger pieces and takes far less time.
I just keep the peels in the freezer until I need them. I have one for grapefruit, and one for oranges. My favorite use of the zest is for salad dressings. I love this dressing, but I just add extra zest and leave out the freshly squeezed orange juice once I don’t have oranges sitting around. When I’m ready to use them, I take a frozen peel or two out of the freezer, mince it, and dump it into whatever needs a little orange or grapefruit flavor.