Citrus season may be over, but lemons and limes persist. Both fruits are widely used to add a little (or a lot) of acid to dishes and drinks, and both, once juiced, leave behind a shell of pith and zest. You can compost the spent rinds, or freeze and zest them later…or you can blend them with water and use the liquid to make a syrup.
If you’re a frequent cocktail, sweet tea, or lemonade drinker, I suggest you make the syrup. Private chef and TikTok user Veronica Eiken (@chefv707) can walk you through her process, but you don’t need to use her exact ratios. In the video above, she adds an unspecified number of lime rinds to a blender along with three cups of water. She pulses the mixture three times, then strains the liquid into a pot, adds three cups of sugar, and heats the whole shebang over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
I only had two citrus peels — one Meyer lemon and one conventional — so I couldn’t use the exact ratios recommended by Eiken. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to eyeball and get the right amount of water.
Start by adding your rinds to a blender. If they’re large, cut them into halves or quarters. Next, add enough water to almost cover the rinds. They should be mostly covered, with some pieces sticking out above the waterline. Keep track of how much water you add, as the amount of sugar you add will vary based on it.
Pulse the mixture for three times, or blend for a couple of seconds. Strain the liquid into a pot, and add some sugar — you can use white or brown, whichever you like. (I used a mixture because I ran out of white.)
If you want to make a simple syrup, add the same amount of sugar (by volume) as the amount of water you added earlier. If you want something thicker, you can add twice the sugar, but doing so may obscure the flavour you extracted from the citrus. Either way, heat over low until the sugar is just dissolved, then let cool and strain (once again) into bottles or jars.
The resulting syrup will taste sweet and citrusy, two of my favourite flavours. You can brush your syrup over cakes or drizzle it over ice cream, but it really sings in an icy cold beverage. Add it a margarita for a super citrusy marg, or make a supercharged lemonade. If nothing else, channel those TikTok girlies and add it to your water bar. A water bar is nothing without an ample library of syrups.
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