Dehydrated Lemons

by Handjobs For The Home on January 6, 2012

So I recently got this little thing we like to call a dehydrator. It’s an amazing piece of kitchen equipment. I honestly cannot wait to use it this summer for some dried tomatoes and the plethora of other summer fruits. Dried apricots? Yes! But in the meantime, I just couldn’t keep my hands off this pretty little thing and needed to suck the moisture out of something.

Since we are now in the depths of winter, I had a hard time coming up with something I could throw in the dehydrator and actually put to good use. I thought about making some homemade garlic powder, but through a little research, I quickly found that that stinks up your house. Then I thought about banana chips, but that’s kind of run of the mill boring. After a little more brainstorming, I decided to settle on some dehydrated lemons.

I sliced up about 6 lemons about ¾ inch thick and layered them in the dehydrator on the racks. It surprisingly filled up 5 racks in my dehydrator. I couldn’t believe how much it yielded—looks like I’m going to have dried lemons for the rest of the year!

I had two more racks to fill with something but couldn’t think of anything. But then it came to me. I remembered I had made a pear “sauce” that was just far to watery to be called a butter. Since it was pretty much the consistency of an apple sauce, I figured I’d dry it and make fruit leather.

I loaded up the racks and set the dehydrator at 135 degrees F for 8 hours. After 8 hours the lemons were looking good, but needed a little more time and the fruit leather still had a ways to go. Back in they went for another 2 hours. I checked in sporadically because some of the lemons dried faster than others. When they were completely dry, I popped them into a quart sized Ball jar for storage.

At 10 hours in, all the lemons were done, but the fruit leather was looking eh. I let it run for another hour and it ended up a sticky mess. I decided to take the failure as a learning lesson and toss it.

I absolutely love the way the lemons look, and smell! When you dehydrate lemons, if perfumes your house with the most amazing lemony fresh smell. That was a treat on its own!

So what am I going to use these dehydrated lemons for you ask? I’m not quite sure I know the answer yet. I’ve already used a few in a glass of water which was really nice. I figure they will be good to take to work and turn my water bottle into a lemony treat. My other thought is putting them in the spice grinder and making lemon powder for lemonade or a tasty addition to baked goods. Or perhaps adding a slice to sauces or fish dishes. I think lemon powder would also probably be delicious added to some fruit preserves this summer. Also, since they are so gorgeously brown and yellow, they might become some sort of craft. Hmmm…

So I ask you readers—what would you do with dehydrated lemons? Any ideas?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrienne Audrey January 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

We use our dehydrator for mushroom we pick out in the woods near our home. Good thing you checked about the garlic! Imagine the smell!

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Sara January 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Love the idea of making lemonade powder! I recently got a dehydrator too and have loved it!

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Kristen (@gezelliggirl) January 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

What do you think happened with the fruit leather-that-wasn’t?

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ann hazelett January 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm

so what all could one do with dry lemons?

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Handjobs For The Home January 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’m loving them in a glass of water right now, but I’m up for suggestions!

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adam January 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

we use to do this as kids for christmas ornaments, its a somewhat old traditional thing from somewhere I am sure. http://www.marthastewart.com/870557/glittered-fruit-ornaments

I think some sort of craft that hangs in front of a window would be beautiful, the way the lights shine through the dried flesh.

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Liz January 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I use dried lemons, oranges and cranberries to make an edible garland for my christmas tree every year. When we take the tree down the garland goes outside, hung in a swag from the eaves in front of our living room window where we can watch the birds munch on it.

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Gayle J January 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I have never dried garlic, but I have dried onions and they smell pretty strong too. I put my dehydrator in the garage. You could also put it outside if you had a place that sheltered from the weather. I use my lemons for decoration.

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Mackenzi Farquer January 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Have you been to DuMont in Billyburg? They have this INSANE arugula/baby artichoke salad with the THINEST preserved lemons that are cracker crispy. Can you achieve that texture?

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Handjobs For The Home January 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Oh my goodness that sounds incredible! I’m definitely going to have to give that a try Mackenzi!

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Shesten January 24, 2012 at 2:37 am

Oh my goodness. Lemon chips? Yes! That sounds divine.

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Shesten January 24, 2012 at 2:39 am

I’m thinking they could be used in the crockpot with chicken or something. That way if you need a meal and you don’t have any fresh, you could just toss a few in? I’ve only got one bag of lemons left and I’m searching for wonderful things to do with them – I’m going to try this out for sure. Thank you!!

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Handjobs For The Home January 25, 2012 at 2:01 am

Yes! That’s a great idea. Let me know what creative uses you come up with when you make yours.

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Terri January 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I haven’t dehydrated lemon and orange peel (scraped the pith off first) and tried grinding it in my food processor and then in the coffee grinder … it was a chore! I like to slice them thin and freeze them on a cookie sheet before bagging….water, tea, lay over fish while baking, etc. I have dehydrated apple slices. Yum! And corn, okra, carrots, potatoes, herbs, celery, peppers … and even browned ground beef! Everything rehydrates very well! Love Love Love my dehydrator

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Sue August 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I recently bought a dehydrator and food saver and am conducting scientific experiments in my kitchen. Lemons and limes are going to be my next victims. I am considering trying to candy some besides having some plain ones for putting in my water or cooking. I read where you can soak the dehydrated fruit in sugar water, re-dehydrate and repeat. I was considering soaking the slices before the first dehydration in sugar water and then coat the slice in granular sugar. Orange slices are yummy dehydrated “as is.” I imagine lemons and limes would be way too tart to eat plain. I will invite my daughter over and make her taste them and judge by the look on her face whether or not to taste one myself!

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Linda October 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm

How about adding a little lemon powder to breadcrumbs or batter, before coating chicken or fish. I grind my dried lemons and add the powder to crystal sugar, melted chocolate, custards, whipped cream and ice-cream for delicious desert toppings.
Add to oil and dab by windows and doors….. it stops spiders crawling through and makes the house smell lovely.

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Tiffany November 20, 2012 at 5:36 am

How about as a canape base with creme fraiche and smoked salmon?? or if that lemon flavor is too intense and over powering you could crumble them on top… I think it would add a great strong complimenting flavor and a nice texture

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Patrice Edwards December 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

Great idea! What dehydrator do you recommend using?

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melee April 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm

they as well as orange peels can be used as fire starters. makes the camp fire/ bbq smell awsome and adds a citrise smell and taste to ur food.

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