Here's Why You Should Hold On To Leftover Lemon Peels

It never fails that a recipe only calls for part of a lemon, such as the juice. That means you might be tossing the rest of the fruit out if all you needed was that one part, but there are so many reasons and ways to make the most of leftover lemon rinds. When you can make the most of your leftovers, you'll waste a lot less and get more for your money, and you'll discover other uses for parts of your food you'd ordinarily just toss in the garbage.

If you're someone who uses lemon zest often, then you can actually zest the remaining lemon peel and save it to be used later. Accord to The Spruce Eats, you can actually zest your lemon peels and freeze it so it will be ready to go when you need it.

All you have to do is use a microplane, zester, or vegetable peeler to zest the lemons. While it's easier to zest before cutting or juicing the lemons, you can still zest them if you've already done so — it might just take a little more effort. Next, flash freeze the zest on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once it's frozen, transfer the zest to an airtight bag or container and keep in the freezer for up to six months.

How to use leftover lemon peels

If you do not use fresh lemon zest often enough to freeze it, then you can always dry and candy the zest — or whole curls of lemon rind. These work beautifully as decoration on baked goods, or just to eat on their own, and they're very easy to make.

To candy lemon peels, simply slice the rind into quarter-inch thick peels or curls. Next, boil the peels then soak them in cold water. Repeat this three times, then drain the peels. Make a simple syrup by boiling two cups of water with two cups of sugar. After the mixture boils, reduce to a simmer and cook the peels in it until the white part of the peel, called the pith, turns translucent. You can either let them dry out for firmer peels, or store them in the liquid in the fridge for a soft, sweet lemon peel. If you let them dry, store with some extra sugar at room temperature in an airtight container (via AllRecipes).

If you still have more lemon peels to use than you want to candy or freeze as zest, then consider making lemon sugar to use in your baking. It's similar to vanilla sugar, but instead of using vanilla bean pods, you just drop the lemon peel into some sugar and let the aromatics infuse (via Martha Stewart).

You'll never look at lemon peels the same way after you put them to good use, and you'll probably skip tossing them from now on.