To keep enjoying that mandarin flavor for months, I dry the peels. Peel off any stickers, scrape away any excess white pith from the peel – with thin-skinned mandarins I don’t bother – and lay the peels in a single layer on a cooling rack. Let them dry for several days. If you live someplace extra humid (ahem, Seattle) you can throw the peels into a dehydrator or toss them into a very low oven. When the peels are shatteringly crisp, they’re done!
Once dry, the peels can be kept in hunks or ground. Grind batches of dried peels in a food processor – I can’t imagine any other way to get the job done – and be prepared for a bit of noise. Larger pieces can be added directly to braises, soups or broths, or dropped into the cooking liquid for rice, beans or other grains. Used judiciously they add a nice background flavor without overpowering.
|Add orange peel and broth to subtly flavor rice.|
Orange pairs well with many herbs. Rosemary is a fantastic flavor-companion, and any cooking situation in which you’d add rosemary you can probably throw a little dried mandarin peel in as well.
Orange-rosemary braised lamb shanks are fantastic in the dark days of winter, a loaf of whole wheat rosemary-orange no-knead bread would be killer, or whip up an orange-rosemary spice rub to enhance just about anything – game, poultry, pork, mushrooms, sweet potatoes or squash would all be excellent flavored this way.
|Boar Tenderloin with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub|
|In the pan|
|On the plate|
|Sockeye Salmon with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub|
|When you add fish to a hot pan, press gently to ensure the entire surface of the fish gets nicely caramelized.|
|Flip once (only once!) and finish cooking skin-side down.|
|Served here with chanterelles, cooked in the same pan and also seasoned with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub.|
This is just like the rosemary salt from back in March, but with mandarin peel. To make a fennel rub, just substitute 1/4 cup sweet fennel seeds for the rosemary. Chefs are into iteration. We love adaptable!
- 2, 5″ long sprigs fresh or dried rosemary, stripped from the stem
- 3-4 large pieces dried mandarin orange peel
- 1/4 cup kosher or coarse sea salt (it will be fine ground by the time you are through with it)
- 1-2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, to taste
|Just throw it all in there. It’ll be fine.|
|Still way too chunky, but maybe nice for a potpourri?|
|Perfect! Use for sprinkling on anything that needs fantastic flavor.|
Endless options – what do you do with your citrus peels?42
I love this post, thank you! Such great recipes for those piles of peels that will be stacking up this month.
Yum yum yum! Thank you – fantastic ideas!
Kristy Lynn says
oh you clever woman! What a good way to reduce food waste!
like you, we always had mandarins at Christmas time… it's taken some of that beauty away though having them available year round now. That being said, i'll only have one when i go home for christmas. yay christmas!
Thanks! I've just planted a mandarin tree.
Who knew you could do all those interesting things with the peels. My uses for citrus peels in general seem boring, but here it is:
2. Put a bunch down the garbage disposal and run it to freshen it up.
3. Cut the bigger pieces with a cookie cutter, add a hole, dehydrate, add string, you have an ornament. Optionally punch more holes and add cloves before drying.
I love it when everything can be used and there is little or no waste.
brenda from arkansas
We also love mandarins, and had used the peels to make a cleaner… just soaked them in vinegar until the essential oils are released! The recipe was for lemon peel, but we had so many mandarins & they smelled so nice!
queen of string says
Well, up until reading this, we composted them, but I guess now, I have a whole slew of new stuff to try with them! I think mandarin shortbread first 🙂
Yeah! Our tree is loaded with ripening manderins right now. Looking forward to trying this as I also hate to waste anything.
Genius…again! Love your ideas. Thanks for inspiring and sharing
Awesome post! You inspired me to never compost my orange peels again!
Rachel Shadoan says
I hadn't thought of saving the peels! I also run them through the garbage disposal to make it smell nice, but I am eating so many of them lately that I have too many for that purpose!
In a similar vein, I recently saw a recipe for mandarin orange dust. You veeeeeeeery thinly slice whole mandarin oranges, then dehydrate them in the oven on low, and then grind them to powder! I will have to try both methods and compare. I bet the powdered peel would add a heck of a flavor punch of mandarin orange curd! (Throw in a vanilla bean and then you have Dreamsicle curd!)
Made some and it's great. I never would have thought of it!
Can you do the same with lemon peel?
Oh, I am right there with you with the Satsumas! So good and the peels are just as yummy. I ended up making candy with our saved peels, but I really love your suggestion!
I had no idea!! thank you Erica, I will refer to this post in the near future, when my old mandarine tree is bowing at the branches. I have to date, only used them as a fire starter….works a charm ever time. Ok, so today I’ve realised that I pay way too much for my local brew at home coffee! but I’ve found (thanks to you!) that my mandarine tree (aka: the giving tree) has so much more to offer. Thank you, I love your blog. and I’m planning to plant some coffee soon
Wow, thanks for sharing this. I live near the coast and the humidity is way high. My peels always end up getting lot of black fungus like thing and I end up throwing most of it away. Now that you tell me I can put it in the oven I am super thrilled.This way I can get instant peel ready.
I tried air drying them all these years!!
I have saved peals in ziplock bags in my freazer to add to stews and braises not sure why i never thought to just dry them and save space in my already crowded jenga freezer. Thanks
Nice topic. Here is another way to use the peels http://tansuaksu.blogspot.com/2012/11/homemade-grand-marnier.html
nessa beck says
Can I nibble on the dried mandarin skins..I just love them but am not sure if it is healthy or not
Karen Getzinger says
Slightly tempted to go pull some out of the compost bin, but will save them from now on!
Carolyne Thrasher says
Nice! I love all the little chef tips you gave us. I love citrus everything.
Erin M says
Hi Erica…good to have you back!!!
I made this rub last Christmas. We LOVE it. I would cut back on the salt a little bit, but that is the cool thing about this recipe. You can play with it.
I dice my peels before I dry them (in a dehydrator, due to other issues here) so I have easy sizes to store and use. The diced pieces go into a coffee grinder easily to make into citrus powder as needed. I have a coffee grinder just for herbs etc, I dislike coffee and would not want to get the flavor in my herbs, YMMV 😀
When I dry mandarin skins, they go a bit brown, why. What am I doing wrong
Hi, wat if oranges are not organic. How to clean peel before going for whole process