Leftover Lemon Peels? Here Are 5 Ways To Use Them

Lemons, with their vibrant yellow hue and tangy flavour, are a staple in everyday cooking. They add a refreshing zing to dishes, from salad dressings and marinades to desserts and beverages. However, amid our culinary adventures, the often-neglected heroes are the lemon peels. These citrusy remnants are frequently discarded without a second thought. In our quest for sustainable cooking practices, it's essential to realise the untapped potential of leftover lemon peels. By discovering creative ways to use them, you can reduce food waste and maximise the value of this versatile fruit.

In addition to their culinary versatility, lemon peels offer various health benefits. They are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins C, A, and E, as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The peels contain higher concentrations of antioxidants compared to the flesh of the lemon, making them a potent source of natural compounds that help combat free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress. 

Moreover, the high fibre content in the peels can aid digestion and promote a healthy gut. Incorporating lemon peels into your diet, whether by zesting them into dishes or consuming them in candied form, can be an excellent way to harness their nutritional benefits and support overall well-being.

Here are 5 ways you can use leftover lemon or lime peels in your home:

Infused water and beverages:

Give your water a refreshing twist by infusing it with leftover lemon peels. Simply add the peels to a pitcher of water and let them steep for a few hours. The result is a subtly flavoured, thirst-quenching beverage. You can also experiment by adding lemon peels to your favourite herbal tea or homemade lemonade for an extra zesty kick.

Citrus-infused oils:

Make your citrus-infused oils by combining lemon peels with olive oil. Place the peels in a glass jar and cover them with oil. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of weeks to infuse the oil with the lemony goodness. This versatile oil can be used in salad dressings, marinades, or drizzled over roasted vegetables for a bright and tangy flavour.

Candied lemon peels:

Transform your leftover lemon peels into a delightful sweet treat by making candied lemon peels. Start by removing the pith from the peels and cutting them into thin strips. Then, blanch the peels in boiling water to remove any bitterness. Next, simmer the peels in a simple syrup made from equal parts water and sugar until they become translucent and tender. Remove the peels from the syrup, allow them to dry, and toss them in some additional sugar. These candied lemon peels can be enjoyed on their own as a snack, used as a garnish for desserts, or even dipped in chocolate for an extra indulgence.

Lemon peel salt:

Add a burst of citrus flavour to your dishes with homemade lemon peel salt. Start by thoroughly drying the lemon peels in a dehydrator or low oven until they become crisp. Grind the dried peels in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Mix this lemon powder with sea salt, adjusting the ratio to suit your taste preferences. The resulting lemon peel salt can be used as a seasoning to enhance the flavour of various dishes, from roasted vegetables and grilled meats to salads and seafood. It adds a delightful tanginess and aromatic quality that can elevate your culinary creations.

Homemade cleaning products:

Lemon peels possess natural cleaning properties, making them an excellent addition to your DIY cleaning arsenal. Create an all-purpose cleaner by soaking lemon peels in vinegar for a few weeks, then strain the liquid and dilute it with water. This solution can be used to clean kitchen countertops, glass surfaces, and even floors. The citric acid in the peels helps break down grime and leaves behind a fresh lemon scent.