Citrus Zest In Baking-Tips and Tricks

It’s winter, just in case anyone wasn’t sure:) Citrus is in season, and the bright colors and bold flavors help spice up the gray, wet and cold winter days. We’ve been buying oranges by the case and they are so good! orange

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Many baking recipes (namely, muffins and scones) call for citrus zest, orange or lemon usually. I used to just omit it, because really, zesting an orange or lemon just for a measly teaspoon of the rind? Not happening most of the time.

But then I tried it one day and man, that teaspoon of lemon zest in blueberry muffins really sends them over the top! I was surprised at the amount of flavor that little bit added, and I was hooked. But I still had a problem. I don’t like digging my microplane out just for that tiny bit of zest in a recipe. I guess I’m a little bit lazy I like to find a shortcut for everything in the kitchen.

I found two easy ways to always get that extra boost of citrus flavor in a recipe!

1. A few years ago I was making orange marmalade. I needed some of the rind for the recipe, but a lot of the orange rind was just going to be thrown away. So I zested the oranges before cutting them, then froze all the zest in a little baggie. Now it’s simple to just break off a little chunk of zest and crumble it into a recipe. Two bonuses: I’m wasting ever so slightly less, and the color from the zest makes baked goods so pretty.

So before I slice oranges for us to eat I quickly run them over the microplane and freeze the zest. It’s easy to store enough citrus zest for over a year’s worth of baking!

2. My friend Joy taught me this one. Lemon, sweet orange and other essential oils are a quick and easy way to add the citrus flavor to recipes. She uses 20 drops of lemon essential oil in her blueberry muffins and they are delicious! For every teaspoon of citrus zest called for in a recipe I substitute 15-20 drops of essential oil.

I buy the Beeyoutiful brand essential oils from


This post is a part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy’s recipes.