Should you dehydrate lemons and lemon zest

A few weeks ago, I came across a great deal on Meyer lemons. I love these and wanted to prolong their use. I happened to be in a "dehydrating phase" at the time and decided I would preserve some of the lemons.

Lemon rings, porcini mushrooms, zucchini
The result? They were beautiful and smelled amazing. But they were horrible for any practical use. Eating them was painful (they were extremely sour and very pithy/bitter.)

I thought I could use them to flavor water or to cook with fish, but the bitter pith taste was the standout in both cases.

Also....they rehydrated themselves within a week - meaning they would become a food hazard. So I chopped some of them up to add to homemade soaps. They made the soap smell wonderful and probably did a good job exfoliating, but they made the soap fall apart.

In the end, I froze them in cubes of water and used them as garbage disposal cleaning cubes. A horrible waste of a really good lemon...

And in case you were wondering, I also dehydrated the zest.
It looked great, but has almost no lemon scent and tasted like plastic. As an FYI - you can freeze lemon zest and it stays flavorful and delicious for a very long time. Do not dehydrate it. You will waste all the "essence" of the lemon.

**In case you are wondering by the first picture in my pantry....mushrooms dehydrate wonderfully and last for a reasonable amount of time. They also rehydrate extremely well and can be ground into a super umami packed powder (to be used as a seasoning.) Zucchini also dehydrate well and I toss them into almost every lasagna, soup, or pressure cooked meal to add some green veggies. I usually break them into bits before use as the texture upon rehydration isn't as great. But they do add bulk, vitamins, and color to casseroles and stews. If you have freezer space, I would freeze zucchini over drying it, but drying it does turn out well.


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