It’s citrus season in and around Phoenix, and if you don’t have a lemon, orange, or grapefruit tree in your yard, then you surely know someone who does. In fact, you will probably start seeing boxes of fruit sitting out on the curb for anyone to take. I think it’s one of the coolest things about living in Arizona. But what do you do with all that citrus?
Lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are full of so many vitamins and minerals that make our bodies thrive. Of course we know that citrus juice contains high amounts of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. But there is so much more to citrus than the juice.
I bet you have all used lemon zest in a recipe or two, but did you know that the white, spongy part of the peel is where a very important nutrient is concentrated? Citrus peels are abundant in flavonoids, which are “best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as the support of the cardiovascular and nervous systems,” according to whfoods.com. Susun Weed, in her book New Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way, says that flavonoids have an estrogenic effect and that the richest source of bioflavonoides is found in the inner skin of citrus. She offers a recipe she calls Peel Power, which I have used for several years as a nutritious “candy.”
The recipe is simple.
Juice 2-5 lemons (save the juice for lemon curd or some other yummy recipe)
Cut each juiced lemon in half again.
Remove the inner membrane by pulling it out (a knife is good for starting it).
Slice each peel into ¼ inch strips
Place the strips into a clean quart or pint jar.
Boil enough honey to almost the lemon strips. Pour the hot honey over the lemon strips in the jar (in a few hours the lemon peels will soften and release some moisture so that there will be more liquid in the jar than when you started, so don’t worry if your honey is an inch or two below the top of the peels).
Press down on the peel to immerse them in the honey.
Do this throughout the day until the honey covers them.
Keep tightly covered in a dark cupboard.
You can eat them the next day, but they will be better in a week or two.
Eat one or more honey lemon strips a day to reap the benefits of the flavonoids.
You can eat them straight or put them in your tea for a wonderful sweetener.
Once the peel is gone, use the lemony honey to flavor drinks or desserts.
Here is a great recipe for lemon curd to use up all that lemon juice.