How to Dry Citrus Peel

I particularly like the idea of drying citrus peel for use in recipes and in potpourri. I think of it as an eco-friendly way to make use of everything and that can be a uniquely satisfying approach to herbal gardening, cooking and crafting.

This is really simple. Just trim the pith (the creamy part) off the skin of any citrus you have. Orange, lemon, tangerine and grapefruit will work. You can do this with a sharp paring knife and sometimes even with a quality (sharp) potato peeler.

Once you have some nice long strips, set them in a warm dark place for a couple of days to dry. They'll darken and become quite stiff. Sometimes placing them in the oven or in a dehydrator can scorch them, so I prefer placing strips of peel on top of the stove for the warm, dry air when I'm baking -- or as a fall-back plan, I've also placed trays arranged with strips of peel on the dryer and even on top of the water heater.

Once dried, you can seal them in plastic bags for later use in potpourri or ground up as a flavoring in sauces and baked goods. If you're planning on using dried citrus peel in cooking, opt for organic fruits to avoid pesticide contamination.

This is a fun fall activity, and it's always entertaining to include the kids if you can find a safe peeler that will work for them. Turning trash into aromatic treasures is a bit of wizardry that can change a child's perspective about the garden and growing things.

Using dried citrus in potpourri is one of my favorite craft "tricks". It's an inexpensive, natural and easy way to create volume and color in a homemade bowl of potpourri. Add some whole star anise, some cinnamon sticks, a couple of whole nutmegs and some cardamom seed and you have the makings of a holiday fragrance that will make your home smell cozy and inviting - without artificial additives, preservatives or -- ugh, wood shavings.


  1. Awesome idea! I've been meaning to try making candied orange and lemon peels.

  2. Ohhhh,

    Let me dig out my notes. I have a great, tasty recipe for candied orange and lemon peel using ground cardamom! I'll post it as soon as I find it.


  3. Awesome idea! I've been meaning to try making candied orange and lemon peels.

  4. you can also take the dried citrus peels and chew them. They help freshen the breath, prevent cavities and strengthen teeth.

  5. Anonymous4:59:00 PM

    and you can also try lemons,apples,oranges and eney sented leaf in your backyard

  6. Great idea. Fewer rinds going into the compost.

  7. Anonymous12:53:00 PM

    Thank you for writing this! I've been looking for simple instructions about how to dry citrus peels without a dehydrator.


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