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Can You Freeze Lemon Zest?

Diane Westphal
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by Diane Westphal

Lemon zest can help add flavor in many recipes and even for cleaning or deodorizing your home. Freezing and preserving food is a great way to eliminate waste and save money. If you have an abundance of lemons or want to have it on hand when you need it, you may ask can you freeze lemon zest?

Making the most of your groceries and stretching your dollar further and helps reduce landfill waste. Whether you live alone or belong to a large family, learning how to freeze lemon zest is beneficial.

Can You Freeze Lemon Zest?

Yes, of course, you can freeze lemon zest. It is a terrific option to save and store to use later in recipes. There are ways to keep it fresh so it will not lose potency and be as flavorful as the day you made it. It stores very easily throughout the year even when it is not in season.

It would be quite disappointing to spend time making and keeping it, only not to have it remain fresh when you need it. By following these proper steps, you will know how to store lemon zest to hold onto that crisp, natural citrus flavor. 

How to Freeze Lemon Zest

Lemon Zest

There are ways you can freeze and store lemon zest effectively. For the very best product, you should search for organically-grown lemons.

If you do not have access to organically grown lemons in your area, others are fine, but they may have a wax coating that helps preserve the peel during shipment and storage. Although it is edible, you can remove the wax by placing a few lemons in a strainer in your sink and pouring boiling water over them. Use a vegetable brush to help strip the wax residue off with cool water before you zest them.

Step 1

You will want to zest a lemon before you extract any juices out of it. Choose your method to create your zest. It may depend on what kitchen tools you currently own or want to purchase.

You can easily zest a lemon without going out to purchase an expensive kitchen tool. You can use a fine citrus zester, a cheese grater, a Microplane, a vegetable peeler, or even a sharp knife. Each device will give you a different texture, so it will depend on your preference or budget.

  • Lemon Zester: This tool is a small, hand-held kitchen gadget to use only for zesting citrus fruit. It has one row of holes on its end, much like a vegetable peeler, but it only creates zest.
  • Cheese Grater: Many traditional cheese graters will have a very fine side which you can use on your lemons to achieve zest.
  • Microplane: This tool is approximately 4 inches in length. It resembles a long, thin grater attached to a handle. You hold the handle with one hand while you scrape the zest off the lemon up and down the zester, rotating it frequently.
  • Vegetable Peeler: You can use a standard vegetable or potato peeler to create zest. The result may be larger than you would like, so feel free to cut it into smaller pieces if you wish before storing it.
  • Sharp Knife: With a sharp paring knife or chef’s knife, cut an end off the lemon to keep it flat and stable to zest it. Now you can carefully slice the peel off in strips while holding the lemon steady.

Ensure that you are only taking off the peel of your fruit and not the white pith underneath that can be quite bitter.

Step 2

Before freezing your final product, decide which storage method will work best for you and your space. If you need to know how to store lemon zest, there are several simple methods. You can save prepared zest in an airtight container, glass mason jar, or a freezer bag.

When placing it in a container or jar, do not pack it in tightly. Compacting it too tightly will make it more difficult to remove it as you need. Freezer-safe bags are terrific options to pack more inside since you can manipulate the bag with your hands. This way, you can break it apart easily when it is still frozen. 

How Long Will Lemon Zest Last in the Freezer?

Lemon zest will last up to 6 months in your freezer if stored correctly in an airtight container or freezer bag. Once you have a large amount, you should freeze it immediately to lock in the flavor.

You will need to use it as soon as possible for any product that you leave in the fridge. The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the quicker it will lose the natural oils that give it the distinctive aroma and flavor.

Related: Best lemon squeezer

How is Lemon Zest Useful?

Lemon Zest

There are numerous ways you can use lemon zest that does not include cooking. A medium-sized lemon will give you approximately one tablespoon of zest.

One of the most diverse ways to create homemade non-toxic cleaner is using vinegar and lemon zest.

Take the zest of one lemon and place it in a sealed jar with 1 cup of white vinegar. Let stand for 5 to 7 days. Once the vinegar has had time to absorb the natural oils from the lemon, mix this solution with 1 cup of water and transfer it to a spray bottle for a great home disinfectant that smells great.

Lemon zest can also help deodorize your garbage disposal by merely putting some inside and pouring boiling water through.


Remember that there are so many ways to use a lemon aside from squeezing the juice out.  If anyone you know has asked can you freeze lemon zest, you are sure to tell them that they can very quickly.

As individuals are trying to be more environmentally conscious and want to save money, they are looking for more ways to preserve foods or make natural cleaners. Lemon zest can be the perfect solution.

About Diane Westphal
Diane Westphal
Diane lives with her husband and 2 children on a small ranch in Southern California, where she's able to grow a good portion of the food that she prepares for her family in a variety of kitchen creations.Diane has been formally trained and has spent stints in multiple noted restaurants in her region and currently consults with commercial catering businesses. She enjoys writing about food as much as she engages in making her creations.
1 Comment
  1. Thank you< Diane.
    I freeze a lot of things, but I wanted to know specifically about lemon zest because I found a recipe that uses A LOT of it! "The Lemoniest Lemon Sheet Cake" from cleobuttera.com/cakes
    I live in a semi rural part of the SF Bay Area, on the Central Coast. Just letting you know because I lived in other rural areas of this country and am finally "home" in California.
    I did a lot of canning, preserving, freezing, and even slaughtering (as humanely as possible) in the "back to the land" movement in the 70's.

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