Can You Freeze Zest? Best Method For Freezing

Most people will usually buy citrus fruits and eat the flesh only. Instead of throwing away the rind of the fruit, you can use the zest to add flavoring to foods. It can be used as an addition to cakes and desserts and used to add flavors in soups and stews. Since you have a lot of zest and need to store them for later use, would freezing zest be an option?

Can you freeze zest? Yes, you can freeze the zest of any citrus fruits. Due to their thin and soft texture, the zests will freeze quickly. You can either freezer them fresh by flash freezing them first or freeze zest as an ice cube. Either way, you’ll have zest on hand ready to be used for cooking.

Should You Freeze Zest?

The zest of many citrus fruits is versatile and can be used in many different foods. If you love the taste of zest and use it quite often in cooking and making desserts, freezing zest is a great idea. Freezing zest will save you a lot of time preparing it.

When you need to use the zest, simply toss the ice cubes into the cooking or use it for making desserts. Due to their thin texture, zest will almost instantly melt once it’s removed from the freezer.

Therefore, you should freeze zest if you use it often as it will save you plenty of time.

How To Freeze Zest?

Freezing zest can be done using two different methods. You can either freeze them by flash freezing them first or freezing them as ice cubes.

Both methods are great for freezing and will help keep the zests fresh for a long time in the freezer.

However, depending on what you’ll be using them for, one method of freezing may be better than the other.

Below are the steps on how to freeze zest and what they are best used for:

Flash Freezing Zest

For using zest to make desserts, cakes, or for food topping, using the flash freezing method is the best approach.

  1. Start by grating the zest. Avoid grating any of the white pith which can be bitter. If you don’t mind the bitter taste, you can grate some of it.
  2. On a tray, lay a sheet of baking or wax paper on it.
  3. Spread the zest all over the sheet and keep them spaced out between each other.
  4. Take the tray and put it into the freezer for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Once the zest is completely frozen, immediately transfer them to an airtight container or a freezer bag.
  6. If using a freezer bag, press on the bag to remove any excess air. Any air in the bag could cause the zests to have freezer burn.
  7. Seal the bag tightly. If using an airtight container, seal the lid as tight as possible.
  8. Label the bag or container with a date and place it into the freezer.

Whenever you need zests, simply open the bag or container and grab as much as you need. Then seal it back up and place it back into the freezer.

Freeing Zest In Ice Cubes

For using zest in stews, soups, and rich dishes, the ice cube methods are the best approach.

For using zest to make desserts, cakes, or for food topping, using the flash freezing method is the best approach.

  1. Like the above method, start by grating the zest first.
  2. Once you’ve got your zest, place them into the slots of the ice cube tray. Fill the zests in each slot to around two-thirds of the way.
  3. Once all the slots are filled, top each slot with water. Make sure all the zests are submerged.
  4. With a cling film, wrap the entire tray all around.
  5. Place the tray into the freezer and let it sit for 2-3 hours.
  6. Once it’s frozen solid, immediately pop them out and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.
  7. Seal the bag or container tight to prevent air from leaking into it.
  8. Label the freezer bag or container with a date and place it into the freezer.

Whenever you need the zest for cooking a meal, simply take the correct amount of zest ice cubes and directly place it into the meal while it’s cooking. Due to the heat of the food, while it’s being cooked, the zest will melt instantly.

How Long Can You Freeze Zest?

If properly stored, zest will last in the freezer for 6 months. In fact, they can last much longer than if the temperature remains unchanged and the container is not opened.

After 6 months, zest will still be able to be eaten, but there is a risk the flavor will degrade.

Zest and any other food that’s stored in the freezer are susceptible to freezer burn. This happens when air leaks into the bag or container and oxidate the product. The longer it’s stored in the freezer, the greater the chance for freezer burn.

Therefore, it’s recommended to use zest before 6 months for the best result.

How Do You Defrost Zest?

Due to the texture of the zest being small and thin, defrosting it isn’t needed. They’ll instantly start to thaw once it’s removed from the freezer.

For cooking a meal, you can simply drop a couple of ice cube zest into the pot while it’s cooking. As the ice cube touches the hot pot, it will begin to melt instantly.

If you’re using zests for baking cakes or desserts, let the zest defrost on the countertop for a few minutes first. Then take the zest and stir it into the cake or dessert batter.

Related Questions

Can you freeze any citrus fruit zest?

When it comes to freezing zest, it can be any citrus fruits. This includes grapefruit, clementine, lime, lemon, orange, pomelo, and tangerine. Freezing any of the citrus fruit zest follows the same exact method in this article.