It started with wanting to make lemon pepper..from scratch. A favorite childhood seasoning that I sprinkled on practically everything, I looked up how to grow peppercorns. Well...that wasn't happening. I live in balmy Minnesota. Home of Polar Vortexes and winter days occasionally reaching -10F...for a high. Attempting to grow a vine that cannot tolerate conditions below 60F? Ah...okay. Lemons!
That one was a little more obvious I wasn't going to be able to grow from scratch but I could get the fruit. So patiently I awaited the arrival of discarded lemons in the cull bin at work. A few weeks later there the little dandies were ready and waiting. Up I scooped the orphaned citrus, headed for home and was about to turn on the dehydrator when I remembered. Microplane.
Drat. The pains of moving and the dividing of belongings. I dug and dug and dug...oh please! Rummaged drawers and a ransacked kitchen and all to show was a cheapo plastic cheese grater. Darn it! I was not going to be diswayed from making this nostalgic childhood seasoning yet again.
So I attempted to zest. Let's just say me and the grater were having a bit of an awkward pre-pubescent courtship-like moment during the whole zesting process. Six lemons, a measly tablespoon of zest and the dehydrator was humming for? And then brilliance! Slice the lemons super thin and dehydrate them. Who cares if there wasn't an intended plan. They'd look gorgeous, the zest would dry and the dehydrator wouldn't be running for a milligram of zest.
Tick, tick, tick. Hum, hum, hum. 10 hours later...uh where did the zest go? Ah yes, on the bottom of my dehydrator. Featherlight the citrusy pixie dust blew right off the dehydrator trays and deposited itself ever so thoughtfully at the bottom of my dehydrator. My dehydrator that is, that I had not cleaned out after several dehydrates of carrots and pepper, apples and poppy seeds, and a various assortment of dried herbs. Oh bother.
I yanked the tray out of the dehydrator, about ready to chuck it clear out the window when a glint of gorgeousness caught my eye. Holy Moly! Exquisite little wafers of golden sunshine glimmered back at me. Lemon pepper? What's that? My senses were overwhelmed and mesmerized by the impromptu lemon slices.
Immediately I pondered the possibilities. Pulverize them for a dash of lemon to any dish needing a lemony pick me up? Firm white fish baked in parchment paper with dehydrated lemon, olive oil and herbs? Garnishes for cakes or cookies? Hot toddies anyone?
While I was nibbling on them however I went straight to simply adding them to warmed water for a quick little detox pick me up. Whether detoxes work or not is not what I'm here to debate. Yes the word "detox" can range from eliminating certain foods to going on the Master Cleanse. I just know that a little warmed lemon water quenches my thirst, makes my gut feel better and curbs my munchies.
A bonus about my little lemon slices is that they are portable. Take them to work and add to water anytime without worrying about taking fresh lemon slices and keeping them refrigerated. Also great for traveling.
When life gives you lemons and prevents you from dehydrating lemon zest...lemon slices I say! As always below is the recipe. Happy dehydrating!
Dried Lemon Slices
Makes approximately 1.5 pints sliced lemons
- 6 lemons
1. Wash the lemons, and remove and blemished spots. Remove the ends of the lemons, vertically slicing until lemon flesh is exposed.
2. Next continue slicing 1/16-1/8 inch thick slices until you have sliced all the lemons. You can remove the lemon seeds but it is not necessary.
3. Lay on dehydrator trays making sure not to overlap the slices and dehydrate at 135ºFfor approximately 8-10 hours.
4. When crisp and no moisture remains remove from the dehydrator. Allow to cool and store in mason jars for safe keeping.
Detox Lemon Water
Makes 1 glass of Detox Water
- 1-2 dehydrated lemon slices
- 1-1.5 cups warmed water
1. Combine the lemon slices with the water. Let steep for at least 3 minutes and then drink for a refreshing pick me up. I leave the lemon slice in the water and reuse for at least one more steep.