Lemon and orange peels are used to add flavor or garnish to a variety of foods, and depending on how the peels are used in the recipe, there is an appropriate substitute. Understanding the flavor of lemon and orange peels can also help you determine what substitute to use. For instance, lemon peel is often used to add a tart flavor, while orange peels are more bitter.
Use a wet lemon or orange peel substitution when the texture of what you're cooking will not be affected by additional water, such as with soups, salad dressing or stews. Wet lemon and orange peel substitutions include lemon extract, frozen lemon and even lemonade or orange concentrate. Consider the sweetness of your recipe if you are adding a lemonade or orange juice and adjust the sugar content to accommodate the additional sweetness. Recipes made watery from the extra fluid of wet substitutions can be remedied by reducing other liquid ingredients by approximately a quarter to adjust for texture.
Dry lemon and orange peel substitutions can be made when the peel is being used as a garnish or in drier dishes. Many dry orange and lemon peel substitutions add flavor, aroma and a pleasing aesthetic to recipes. Dry orange and lemon peel substitutions include lemon verbena, lemongrass and lemon thyme. Though orange and lemon peels are not exactly the same in flavor, many of the dry lemon peel substitutions can be used to flavor recipes calling for both orange and lemon peels.
Though not all citrus fruit peels taste the same, substituting other citrus fruit peels for lemon or orange peels can help you out when you're in a bind in the kitchen. Lime peels most closely resemble lemon peels and can be substituted for them in most recipes. Grapefruit and tangerine rinds closely simulate the flavor and texture of orange peels and can be used as a substitute for them in many common recipes.
When making citrus-scented soaps and lotions, orange and lemon oil extracts are often employed as a substitute for peels, as they make a smoother soap or lotion. Orange and lemon oil extracts can also be used for baking and cooking, though they are highly concentrated and often need to be diluted to prevent an overwhelming flavor. Additionally, orange or lemon gelatin can be used as a substitute for peels in baking, though these products are often quite sweet and may require an adjustment in the added sugar of the recipe.
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