The peel: that tough, fibrous rind that protects our fruit and then goes straight into the garbage or compost. In most cultures – especially ours – the citrus peel is considered to be nothing more than a shell, a skin, something to be discarded.
But, surely there’s something more to the fruit peel? After all, zest (which is really just a fancy word for shredded peel) is a key ingredient for many beverages and gourmet food recipes. We’ve even created flavor extracts based upon these ‘zests’.
So, what all is in a peel? And does a citrus peel have any uses?
As it turns out, many fruit peels are loaded with nutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, essential oils, and dietary fibers like pectin, tannins, and hemi-cellulose. Typically, bitter-tasting peels (papaya peels, for example) are high in tannins. Other peels, like berries and apples, tend to have a neutral taste and less tannins.
Essential oils, however, are our favorite aspects of just about any citrus peel. You may have noticed before, when squeezing a lemon, a little “mist” shooting up from the outside of the peel. That “mist” is actually essential oils, which can be ignited to give a cocktail an extra zing!
Of course, if you want to get that intense flavor of extracted oil in your food or cocktails, you can go through a lot of citrus peels fairly quickly. Instead, why not pick up a bottle of Amoretti flavoring oils? Currently, we carry six flavor extracts, two of which are citrus flavors:
- Orange Zest Oil Extract: This flavoring oil is perfect for muffins, breads, pies, and cocktails.
- Lemon Zest Oil Extract: This flavor extract goes well in all kinds of baked desserts, meringues, drinks, or anything else you may imagine.
Just a drop or two of these oils is all you will need to replace a mound of citrus zest. For a quick and easy drink recipe, try an Orange Zest Gin & Tonic.
Orange Zest Gin & Tonic
- 2 oz gin
- 4 oz tonic water
- 1 (very small) drop Orange Zest Oil Extract
- 1 wedge lime
Add gin, orange zest flavoring oil, and tonic water to a Collins glass filled with ice. Stir. Partially squeeze a lime wedge, and use the wedge as a garnish.
This cocktail recipe adds a touch of elegance and gourmet flavor to a terrific well drink. Give it a try!