Mandarin peel has always generally been destined for the compost in our house. Dehydrating it for re-use is not something I’d considered. And if it were not for my very clever sister-in-law I wouldn’t have known about this fabulous little trick!
I mean, it makes sense when you think about it. There are all manner of orange cake recipes calling for whole oranges. So surely the delicate little mandarin peel also has its place in the kitchen?
The answer of course is yes. The peel can in fact be used in several ways. However, I found that dehydrating it is a great way to keep it in the pantry for months to come. It will ensure you’ll be enjoying the flavour of mandarin until next season rolls around too.
Reducing kitchen waste
Using up the peel from mandarins, and many other fruits and vegetables is a brilliant way to help reduce your kitchen waste. As an apartment dweller, this is something I have really struggled with for years. Our council area did not have green waste bins initially, although this is finally being trialled… and we had not previously been part of a community garden. It didn’t take long to decide we needed a compost bin that’s for sure! That being said – not everyone will have the space to have one of those. So, finding ways to preserve your fruit peel instead can be helpful.
Making mandarin peel powder dehydrator vs oven
The very first point to note here – is to ensure you’re using organic or spray free fruit peel. This is because pesticides and insecticides can settle on the skin. We don’t want to be ingesting those. If you’re lucky enough to have your own tree – even better!
The process in either the dehydrator or oven is about as easy as it gets. All up it probably takes about ten-minute preparation. After that it’s just waiting for the peel to dry. I often get my dehydrator to do its thing overnight so I’m sound asleep while it’s at work. That way – there’s no real waiting time involved.
I use an Excalibur five tray dehydrator so the instructions I’ve given below may be a little different for yours. Always check your dehydrator manual for best results.
- Wash and dry the peel
- Use a sharp knife to scrape away the white pith on the underside
- Place on dehydrator mesh with space between the peel so the air can circulate
- Set to 52 degrees C (126F) and leave to dehydrate for 5 – 7 hours
- Check the peel is ready by trying to bend in half. If it gives a good snap it’s done! If not – put it back in for a little longer. The peel must be completely dry, as leaving excess water in it can cause mould to appear when it’s been sitting in the pantry
- Place in a blender or small spice grinder and whizz up into a powder
- Store in an airtight glass jar in the pantry
For the oven
The oven method is much the same. It just takes less time. Keep in mind of course that drying time will be different for everyone depending on how your oven behaves. If you have a fan-forced oven – you may need to drop the temperature a little too. Follow steps one and two above then:
- Place peel on a baking tray again with space between each piece so the air can circulate
- Set to 120 degrees C (210F) and leave to dry for 1 hour
- Follow steps three to seven above
How do I use mandarin peel powder?
In so many ways as I’ve come to learn! So far, I’ve used it in baking, stews and also in some raw citrus donuts with coconut cream glaze.
It would truly be suitable in just about any dish you think you’d like to add a little mandarin flavouring too. It’s very versatile. I’m thinking I might even try adding some to my Jun next time I’m doing a second ferment. Yum!
If you’ve made fruit peel powder before… drop me a comment to let me know how else you’ve used it. I’d love to know more about all the weird and wonderful ways it can be utilised.
Mandarin peel – dehydrated and powdered
- Dehydrator (can also be done in the oven)
- Leftover peel from 6 (or more!) mandarins*
- Wash and dry the mandarin peel
- Scrape off any excess white pith from the underside
- Place underside down on dehydrating mesh with space between each piece of peel. This allows the air to flow freely and dries the peel out thoroughly
- Set the dehydrator to 52 degrees C (126F) and dehydrate for approximately 5 – 7 hours. Timing may vary depending on your dehydrator – but what you’re looking for is the skin to snap when you try and bend it. If not completely dried it can go mouldy in the pantry
- Once completely dehydrated, break up and place in a blender. Blend until a fine powder is formed. I did not have a big enough batch to do this in my Thermomix so I did it in 3 batches in a very small old coffee/spice grinder
- Store in a glass jar in the pantry. It will fade over the coming months but will still be delicious. You can now add this to cakes, biscuits, soups, even tea. Whatever takes your fancy!
- I recommend using organic or homegrown mandarin peel given pesticides and insecticides can settle on the skin
- You can also do this in the oven. Step one is the same, then from there… place the peel on baking trays, again with space between them. Place in a preheated oven (120 degrees C / 210 F) and bake for 1 hour. Check on them, and if they don’t snap yet… keep baking, and checking every 30 minutes until they do. Step 4 is the same, but let the peels cool completely before blending.