28 February 2014

dehydrating citrus

We came into a large box of delicious winter oranges awhile ago. Try as we could, we just didn't get through them all. I thought, "Why not throw them in the dehydrator?" So I did. And then I realized that I didn't know exactly what to do with a bunch of dehydrated orange slices. They were too tough for me to happily snack on- maybe a shorter drying time would have created a chewier orange chip, but these weren't good snacks. Then I thought, maybe I should have dehydrated just the rinds and then ground them into a powder and used it in future cooking and baking recipes. And then, all of the sudden, a flash of lightning came through my kitchen and struck our beautiful home bar, smashing full bottles of spirits and leaving a tiny glowing halo around our Tanqueray and I thought "Oh my! The universe wants me to use these oranges in a gin cocktail!"

In fairness, the lightning part didn't happen but I'm sure as shit that the universe wants me to explore dehydrated citrus in my cocktails. And also, more responsibly, in my water bottle. Why isn't this a huge fad?! Why hasn't anyone told me about the pleasures of dried citrus slices? Yes, fresh fruit is better but who here hasn't found the remaining half or third of a lemon in the back of their fridge after using just a few slices in your water or gin?! Let he who has not cast the first stone. Because here is the reality:  I love having limes and lemons on hand, but I rarely remember to use the whole thing before it goes bad. Give me a jar of dehydrated citrus slices, though, and I am set.

Imagine the possibilities. You will always have the proper garnishes at your home bar, even if you forgot to run out and buy a lime before your guests came over. You can plop a slice right into your cocktail, like we do, or if you have a little more time you can re-hydrate it first in a glass of water and then add to your drink.

You can keep a stash of dehydrated citrus at your office! In your bag! Anywhere! And then you will always be able to spruce up your water without any fuss. I've been tossing a few slices in my water bottle in the morning and enjoying spa water all day long, never having to worry about moldy oranges or slimy lemons being left behind in our refrigerator. I'm going to start stashing them in my desk at work, too. This is a game-changer.

Pictured above, a new favorite:  Gin, ginger ale & a slice of orange. Add a splash of St. Germain if you are feeling fancy.

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