How to Make Dried Tangerine Peels

February 15, 2012 § 5 Comments

One of my favorite things about winter is the small, delicious citrus fruit that comes into season at this time. It’s beautiful. In the middle of a long dark winter, tangerines of all kinds are like small little doses of sunshine. At the store near my house, you can often find 5 lb bags of these tangerines on sale for the same price as a jug of orange juice. It’s the best preventative health care I can think of.

After I’m done devouring my tangerines, I’ll sometimes dry out the peels in the oven to use for later. What do I use them for? Any number of things. I’ll throw them in with some rice to give it a nice, fresh fragrance. I’ll add them to a nice cup of mint tea. Put them into a chicken brine. Use them to make the Chinese classic, orange chicken.

Here’s how you do it: Set your oven for warm. Spread out your tangerine peels on a wire pizza rack, or baking tray. Put the peels in the oven. Walk away for 4-6 hours. Pull them out of the oven.

The peels will start to fold up as they dry. You can let them go until they are a pretty dark brown, and their flavor will continue to concentrate. If you dry them thoroughly, they will keep pretty much indefinitely in a tightly sealed jar.
2 – 3 cups water
1 tsp dried mint
1 dried red chili, seeded and chopped
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 large piece of dried tangerine peel, or several smaller pieces
2 tsp honey
Lemon juice

Heat water until it boils, then let it sit for a minute or so to cool down just a bit. Place the mint, dried chili, ginger and tangerine peel in a ceramic tea pot. Pour the just boiled water into the pot, and allow to steep for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how strong you want the tea.)

Put a teaspoon of honey into each of two cups. Strain the tea into each cup, and stir thoroughly to dissolve the honey. Add a few drops of lemon juice into each cup.

This is my go-to concoction whenever I’m sick or run down. The spice from the chili helps drain any stuffiness and the honey is soothing for a sore throat. The tangerine peels simply add a pleasant aroma to an already delicious tea. Enjoy this one on a cold winter night!

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