Spice up your life with citrus dust

This weekend’s treasure hunt in the world of deliciousness (aka catching up with blog reading) led me to Debi’s supercool Meyer Lemon dust: no reference to sweeping lemons off the street either.

IMG_7481Last week, there was a blood orange, feta cheese and mint contest on food52. I can tell you that I made everything from blood orange ice-cream and gelee to a brioche…and even shortbread!

IMG_7352I have always been intrigued by blood oranges, which are in season at the moment. I remember seeing them at Sligro a month ago but they weren’t quite ‘bloody’. You sliced through them and all you got was a slight hint of red.Unlike this batch I bought, they were truly ‘bloody’! After a week of experimentation with blood oranges I declare that they make the best citrus candied peel….ever! They are sweet and citrusy and have great colour and ….kids love ‘em (My 6-year old is guilty, again).

If beets and pomegranates scare you with their intense hues….especially against white backgrounds…like shirts and tablecloths and walls, then run away now….for these will do the same! However, it is well worth it for the amazingly rich hues they have and bring – turning all creams a nice shade of pink! See the crimson in the dried wheel?

IMG_7303According to Wikipedia:

…The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanin, a pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. It is a mutation of a sweet orange and there are common varieties: the Tarocco (Italian), the Sanguinello (Spanish), and the Moro, the newest variety of the three. After all this, I’m not sure which variety I bought…. but I’m super happy that I did buy.

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Which brings me to why we’re here, celebrating this great discovery of citrus dust, for I am a citrus babe, chic, lover or whatever else you might call it.

At least now I can present some in-season stuff – the perfect atonement for out-of-season recipes!

It is super easy. Get some citruses, slice them thinly and then bake on silicone sheets/baking paper for 1-2 hours till they dry up and the edges become…….

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I used the-already-mentioned blood oranges, lemons and mandarins.

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When they were ready….some were burnt. Note that I had kids upstairs being royally attended to by me in the bubble bath while some of my citrus rings..got burnt!

Anyway, out of the oven they came. I decided that not grinding all of them to dust was the perfect thing to do…..after reading somewhere that you could crush-on-demand. {Note, wrong move, with me not having a spice grinder to hand…..if I did, things would be different! Anyhow, by the day after, they had softened, leading me to the conclusion that revival will involve another stint in the oven}

{Forget the bits in brackets and read on} So, I took one crisp each and crushed them with some salt, in a mortar and pestle.

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I love the results, super fragrant ‘salt’, not dust though, seeing as my by-hand-effort was a bit relaxed and obviously not as effective as a mechanical device like a spice or coffee grinder.

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I made three versions – a lemon, a mandarin and a blood orange and I think the blood orange ones the best!

I also made a ‘chilli-version’, one I’m sure Jamie would love. As in Jamie Oliver who loves chilli in almost everything. I got some dried red chilli, crumbled it and dumped the seeds in a salt  mix made up of the lemon, mandarin and blood orange dust. So right now, I have 4 small jars of citrus salt. Right now, I have 1 small jar of the chilli version, having used the others in various dishes including a topping for a rice dish and in some creamy pasta sauce. Very nice. A hint of citrus flavour and scent.

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When I grow up, find time, and re’dry the citrus crisps, here are some things I plan to do/make with the dust:

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Citrus salted caramels
Citrus butters
Citrus salts and sugars, for cooking and baking
Citrus salt and pepper mixes

I could go on but you get the general idea. I also think all these would make great gifts…so remember this when Christmas comes round!

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I’m also in the process of making time to ‘preserve the rest of my blood oranges, like the Middle Eastern lemons….but with sugar instead! Lets see what it brings…….

IMG_7482If you had a choice, what would you do with the Citrus dust?

Stay hungry!

IMG_7328I’m sending this on to Weekend Herb Blogging #224 (started by Kalyn), and now run by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, and hosted this week by Huan from Eat.Read.Live

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Spice up your life with citrus dust – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

55 Comments

  1. This is similar to something I do – I dry out lime, lemon, orange, ginger and chilli (no salt) then blitz and roll tuna loin in it – lightly sear for an Asian-inspired salad – yummy!!

    Now I’m going to have to make a citrus salt as well!

  2. […] My eyes were assaulted with flower salt and Sapphire salt from Iran and many more. In the end, I bought a small sack of Sel de Guérande – greyish coarse sea salt which the owner of the stall described as soft and tasting of the sea. For me, it will form the basis of making finishing salts which I’ve been longing to do since I made citrus salts. […]

  3. Wow Oz, this is instant love! I can’t get blood oranges in London at the moment I think. However, when they are available, this is what I’ll use them for! Thank you for this recipe. I’m sure it will make a brilliant gift too 😉

  4. Ozoz – such a cool idea! Love it, and I can only imagine how wonderfully aromatic it was. Cannot wait to see what you are inspired to make with them – and the ideas you mentioned sounded fantastic! I’m a popcorn lover so that would be an idea for me – making caramels so that salty sweet combo.

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments on the photos and all your suggestions. I am so looking forward to trying this on salads and chicken and maybe in macs (if I ever find the courage to make them again!). Promise to share them with you as soon as. Lots of love

  6. I got some couscous -from London- and in it were several pieces of dried citrus zest, lemon and orange. It was great!

  7. Oz, I love this! I’ve recently made something similar, but using only the peels. I had a lot of blood orange peels left from a salad I made, and I just put them on the radiator to dry. Then when I want some citrus zing I grate them with a microplane into whatever I”m cooking. That’s a little tricky, though–I sometimes get finger in there! I like your idea of crushing them. I never thought of mixing them with salt, though. Great idea!

  8. I loved Debi’s post on meyer lemon dust too. These photos look great. I’d LOVE that chili version, sprinkled over a chicken, before roasting in the oven. Then the skin would get all crisp and crackly and taste like orange and chile! Oh, yum!

  9. Awesome! I especially love your chili version. I definitely could think of numerous uses for the citrus dust! I’m experimenting with dehydration and grinding food into powders too right now, so fun!

  10. What a fascinating ingreedient. I bet there’s loads of delicious ways that you could include this in your food. I think I’d try it mixed in with breadcrumbs and then put on chicken.
    *kisses* HH

  11. first time ive heard of citrus dust…beautiufl photos Oz!!! as always… I wish i cld find the time for gorgeous pics like yours !

  12. Sigh, these are BEAUTIFUL!! And your pictures are outstanding, Ozoz. I’d like to print and frame some of them. 🙂 Lovely, lovely!

  13. Well this is taking “dust” to a whole new level-wow!
    Fantastic job with this post filled with lovely photos.
    Thanks for the shout out about my Meyer lemon dust at the beginning 🙂
    Debi

  14. OMG,I love citrus. I love this idea. I am trying it and will let you know how it works out.

    Also for a pretty, different and really nice side salad. slice blood orange, lay it on top of some greens (arugula, spinach) top with very thinly sliced onions and sprinkle with balsamic. Yumm.

    Thanks for stopping by the other day!

  15. What a great post. I love all the photos, you are such a good photographer! I also love the tips on using and making citrus dust. I am so into flavored and finishing salts, thanks!

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