A few ways how to use orange/grapefruit/lemon zest

In our house there is never lack of oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Not only that I like to eat them (yes, I like to eat lemons!) but I really enjoy the smell of citrus peels. So many times I’ve left cut peels on the kitchen counter just to let that beautiful scent to spread all around the kitchen. It works like air freshener. I know that many people make their own essential oils using citrus peels. I’ve never tired it but I’m planning to after I run out of my recent supplies.

I do use my citrus peels in cooking and baking. Yesterday I made raspberry sandwich cookies with lemon and orange zest.

My husband wasn’t a big fan of the raspberry jam inside so I left a few plain cookies just for him. He tried one with marshmallow topping but at the end he wanted to eat them just plain. (Recipe on the end of this post)

Speaking about baking. This is my new scar which is aching sooo bad… .

My new scar added to collection. ugh.

Despite my terrible cold (or whatever virus I’ve have for the last week or more) I managed today to make a new supplies of a cut and preserved in sugar grapefruit zest. I learned it from my mom who always would make it before the Christmas holiday season as she always used a lot of orange zest in her Christmas baking. I like it so much that I always keep a jar of ready to use zest in my fridge, no matter what season of the year it is. She would always use only orange zest, but I’ve learned that grapefruit and lemon is great for use as well.

So after I ate my grapefruit for breakfast the funny part started:

Making it you need to remember to wash the skin really good. The best way is to sprinkle baking soda over the fruit and scrub it. Then you need to get rid of the white part of the peel as much as you can because it’s very bitter. Than, you need to cut your peels with a sharp knife in a tiny pieces.

Transfer it to a small glass jar, sprinkle it with a teaspoon (or two) of white sugar. Shake it well, cover and store in the fridge for months. If you have new peel you can just add it to the old one as a new layer. Every time you put some new peels you need to remember to add a teaspoon of sugar and shake it.

Almost empty jar with orange zest that I used making raspberry cookies yesterday!

It’s ready to use anytime you need it: for cakes, cookies, salads, or to flavor meat (yep, it’s really good with meat, just don’t overuse it).

You can not only use it for cooking and baking but in body scrubs as well. Today I made a new batch and it smells sooo heavenly.

This is my recipe:

1/2 cup while sugar,

1/2 cup packed brown sugar,

fresh squeezed juice from half lemon,

fresh squeezed juice from two parts of grapefruit,

1 tablespoon olive oil,

1 tablespoon preserved in sugar orange zest,

10 drops (each) essential oils grapefruit and orange sweet.

If the mixture is too wet just keep adding the sugar.

In the meantime my daughter was doing her stuff which normaly means sneaking behing my back and doing what she shouldn’t be doing:

Do you see that guilty look on her face… She knows she can’t take things off of the caunter but she always does it anyway. I bet you noticed those WAY TOO BIG socks. Yes, those are mine but she loves to wear them as well as many of my clothes.

I didn’t have any lemon zest to photograph today as I do not use it as much as grapefruit and orange but I found a website with 22 ways of how to use Lemon. You might want to check it out.

I used it yesterday to make my cookies and last time when I made granola.

Speaking about cookies.

As I promised this is the recipe:


  • 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest (grated or made as I make it)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam


1. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until light, 2 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup sugar, zests, then egg and salt. Beat in flour 1 cup at a time. Divide dough in half and form into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic foil (or parchment paper) and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out a disk to 1/4-inch thickness. In my case those disks started to crack and stick to the surface so I used more flour for the surface and I used my palm of my hand to press the dough until it reached the right thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2 1/2 -inch cutter. I used my vitamins bottle cap. Placed cut out cookies 1/2 inch apart on sheets. Gather dough scraps, reroll and cut more cookies. Sprinkle cookies with sugar. Repeat with remaining dough disk.

3. Bake cookies until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies to cool then transfer to racks or on the plate.

4. Spread 1 tsp. jam on bottom of a cookie; sandwich with another. Repeat with remaining cookies.


I think those cookies can be eaten just plain.

So, those are mine ideas how to use citrus zest. I was thinking about using it when making candles but making candles is on my list-to-do. Never made them before but really want to try. Someday… someday 🙂


14 responses to “A few ways how to use orange/grapefruit/lemon zest”

  1. I love the look on her face, my “little Miss take it anyway” makes the same face when she does that. And she also wears my socks for play. 🙂

    I love the new look of your blog.

    We use zest in our house as well for the same things. My mama always made an orange zest cake I loved. I also use the skin to scrub the oils onto my cutting board after cutting up onions to keep down the stink.

    I will have to make these cookies.

    na razie i sciskam cie…


    1. she’s become so sneaky lately. she listens olny when she wants and she always make those most cute faces when she does something she shouldn’t have… . Very funny 🙂

      Lately I’ve discovered that the lemon zest is AWESOME to clean and refresh the food waste disposer… . It works like a charm!


  2. Mmmm, those cookies look so yummy! And love the recipe for just the orange zest.


    1. 🙂 Thank you! cookies are delicious and the zest ALWAYS comes in handy! seriously!


  3. So cute her stealing things off the counter! How’d you do that? Put in a video?


    1. Jennifer, it’s called “.gif” and it’s really easy to do.
      1. http://makeagif.com/

      I use GIMP (free editing software) so here is one of many links you can find on Internet how to make gif in gimp.


      1. Oh, I’m going to try it! It was so cute, like I was watching her in real time. Who was taking the pictures? You? LOL!


        1. I always have camera near by… No matter where I am… . So it’s easy to just grab it very fast and to start clicking when our daughter doing something funny 🙂


      2. I tried it and it worked! Thanks for the link to learn to make my own!! 🙂


  4. i love citrus and all the ideas you gave to use it! thanks for linking up your adorable photos this week!


  5. […] * In my opinion (and my husband’s) those cookies have too much candied zest. They taste really zesty. I am not sure but I migh boiled the candied zest for too long and that’s why they came out too hard as for my taste. They might be ok if you want to eat them just like that, but if you want to use them in those cookies (or any other cookies) they seem to be to hard and stick to teeth (a lot). Next time I will use zest made the way I always make it. […]


  6. […] A few ways how to use orange/grapefruit/lemon zest (momphotographer.wordpress.com) […]


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