Dehydrated citrus wheels are a popular edible garnish often used in cocktails. They can easily be part of the drink itself or simply pegged to the rim of a glass.
While they don’t provide aroma or oils to the cocktail they adorn, they do provide an aesthetically pleasing look and to some degree a little more control.
When you add a fresh citrus garnish to a drink it can often slowly dilute the original flavour but with dehydrated citrus, this is never a problem.
Dried citrus is perfect for drinks that are already very aromatic and It’s not only beautiful, but it can signal our brain the message of citrus without adding unnecessary aroma if there’s already lime juice in the drink.
Interestingly, if you are making a hot cocktail, dehydrated citrus can release its fragrance and taste in the same way a tea bag would.
Dehydrated citrus is more than just a beautiful garnish addition, it encourages you to look for new ways to deliver taste and scent in the drinks you make at home.
Best of all though, it is a cost-effective way to ensure that you are using all of the citrus and a useful way to preserve fruits rather than letting them go to waste.
Making them at home is a simple process but it requires a bit of time.
To dehydrate citrus wheels, arrange the sliced fruit on a baking tray in an oven set at the lowest temperature. The idea is to remove the juice from the fruit without cooking it.
Use any citrus such as lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. Depending on your oven, it can take up to 12 hours for the citrus to dehydrate properly.
Alternatively, if you’re serious about dehydrating fruit or any kind of food, you can buy a food dehydrator for the home which is relatively inexpensive.
Dehydrated Citrus Wheels
Citrus such as lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit
Equipment: sharp knife, wire rack and tray, oven
Preheat your fan-forced oven to the lowest temperature, around 60 C.
Cut the citrus into thin, even wheels making sure you don’t break the rind. Discard the end cuts.
Place the wheels onto a wire rack over an oven tray covered with foil and put into the oven.
Slowly dry in the oven, flipping over occasionally until the wheels are hard and crispy to the touch.
It can take between 8 and 10 hours.
Allow the citrus to cool completely after drying before storing in an airtight jar.
To keep the citrus looking like they have been freshly cut, add some ascorbic acid to a light sugar solution. The acid stops the oxidisation and keeps the colour throughout the drying process.