Martha Stewart's Favorite Tip For Storing Lemon Zest

We all know what to do when life gives us lemons, but when it comes to getting the most out of our citrus, there's a lot more to it than just juicing. Before you sit down for a glass of lemonade, there are a few simple steps to take to make the most of the zest, too. Luckily, Martha Stewart knows a tip so that you don't have to delay the enjoyment of your refreshing drink for too long: Store lemon zest in your freezer to use this fresh, fragrant, multifunctional ingredient in the future.

To start, you should know that it's virtually impossible to zest an already juiced citrus, so you'll want to procure as much of the peel as possible before you move onto what's inside. Fortunately, this doesn't require any fancy tools; if you need to zest a lemon without a grater or microplane, you can use a sharp knife to peel it instead. Once you have a colorful, fluffy pile of lemon zest, the last and most important thing to do is transfer it into an airtight container and place it in the freezer. With this quick storage trick from Stewart, you will always be prepared to add a pop of brightness to your sweet treats or savory meals with a little sprinkle of something citrusy.

Tricks for freezing and using lemon zest

When stored properly, lemon zest will last in your freezer for about three months. While you can place zest directly into a container to be frozen, there is something else you can do to make life simpler later. For ease of use, spread zest loosely across the surface of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner, then freeze this for a half hour or so. This will help keep it from clumping into one unwieldy chunk. Alternatively, you can also place the zest into the small compartments of an ice cube tray with a little water or juice. In this way, the zest is already portioned into easy-to-use quantities.

There's no need to thaw lemon zest before baking or cooking with it, but you should slightly adjust the amount that you use. Ice crystals form over time in the freezer, adding bulk to the zest. To make sure you still get a powerful hit of citrus, you'll want to measure out slightly more zest than usual — in a recipe that calls for one teaspoon, add in an extra half teaspoon for the best results.