Dehydrate lemons and create a bounty of sunshine all year long. They are perfect for snacking, baking, cooking, and for decor!
While citrus season is in the late winter and early spring in North America, good lemon varieties are available all year round. You can take advantage of a great harvest season or a good sale at any time.
Try this process with Meyer, Eureka, Lisbon, and all varieties of lemons that are grown in the world today.
How to Dehydrate Lemons
Quick-drying FAQ: Dry at 125°F/52°C for 18-36+ hours, until slices snap when cooled.
Wash lemons thoroughly. Even if using organic, you need to soak and wash the orange to remove any residue and wax that may be on the skins.
Soak in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar for about 15 minutes. Scrub with baking soda if you feel it necessary.
Slice into ¼" slices (6-7 mm). I find that using a good serrated bread knife works wonders to cutting lemons by hand.
Tip: If using a mandoline or meat slicer, cut the end of the orange to give yourself a flat surface.
Tip 2: PLEASE remember to wear a protective cutting glove when using a mandoline. Even if you can use the guard that comes with thde machine, hands and surfaces become slick.
Place slices on trays. You can pack them fairly close together without overlapping. Some airflow is nice, but they don't need a ton of space, nor will they shrink much.
Dry at 125°F/52°C or lower for 18-36+ hours.
While the recommended temperature for fruit is 135°F/57°C, lemons often brown during the drying phase as the sugars brown from the heat. Dropping the temperature can help prevent that, though you do have to add a little more time to the drying process.
You can use a liner such as silicone mesh or parchment paper, but it's not generally necessary.
Tip: Flip your slices after the three to four hour mark, and every five hours to keep them from sticking to your trays.
Test. Allow a sample or two to come to room temperature. It is fully dry when you can snap it in two easily, and there is no moisture in the cells of the flesh.
Store in an airtight container for up to eighteen months, though you'll likely get a much longer time with proper storage techniques.
How to Use Dried Lemon Slices
Your dehydrated slices will look so pretty in your containers on their own, but they have so many more uses than simply throwing in a bowl of potpourri.
- Roast chicken: Place slices in the cavity or make a bed for the chicken to sit on.
- Place slices on fish to bake.
- Mix with pepper, grind, and make lemon pepper seasoning
- Slip into a glass of water or tea to bring a bright orange flavor.
- As a garnish on cocktails
- Decorating (Remember to spray with a protective coating if displaying any citrus on a wreath or other decoration for any period of time to seal it)
- Simmer in a pot with cinnamon sticks, cardamon, allspice for an autumn/winter ambiance
Dehydrating Citrus Varieties
You can get more specific information on drying your favorite type of citrus here:
How to Make Lemon Powder
Dry fruit thoroughly with the instructions above. It's important that your lemon slices be completely dry before powdering.
- Break slices up into the grinder of your choice. I happen to use a NutriNinja most often, but a coffee grinder or large blender works well, too.
- Pulse your grinder four or five times before commencing to a sustained grind.
- Strain out the powder with a fine-mesh strainer, then grind the leftover bits again.
- Condition: Place powder on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a warmed (but off) oven OR back into your dehydrator in coffee filters, muffin papers, etc. to dry for 15-30 min
- Allow to come to room temperature, then store in an airtight container, preferably with a moisture absorber. Follow these tips to help prevent clumping in orange powder.
LEARN MORE: 25+ Ways to Use Fruit Powder
Commonly asked questions
Typically, most dehydrated foods are best within a twelve to eighteen month window that you dry them, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. However, with proper airtight storage techniques, you're likely to get much longer time from them.
While lemon peels are edible, you need to weigh the organic vs. conventional citrus debate about clean fruit.
Lemonade is made from the juice and pulp of oranges. With dehydrated slices, you can flavor water with the essence of lemon. Place lemon slices in a jug of water to allow to soak for a day or so, add simple syrup and have something similar to lemonade.
Time is relative when dehydrating. It depends on your machine, your home's humidity, the moisture in your fruit, how thick you've cut the slices, etc. Use the time mentioned as a window of time, not an exact. Keep drying if they aren't fully dried, yet!
And if you want to see how to make and store orange powder - watch now!
- Lemons Works with any variety
- Wash lemons well
- Slice into ¼ slices
- Dry at 125F°C / 52°C for 18-36 hours
- Dry when they snap when cooled and no moisture is evident
- Store in an airtight container