How to Store Yuzu Zest (Don’t Discard The Peel!)

Yuzu is a very precious fruit especially when you live outside of Japan as they are rare and expensive. The zest and juice of yuzu have a wonderful aroma and flavor, and we love using them in Japanese cooking. After juicing yuzu, don’t throw away the peels. Here’s how to store and enjoy yuzu zest.

A plastic bag containing yuzu zest.

You’re lucky if you have access to fresh yuzu fruits! I hope you make something delicious with them. There are so many ways to make the best of these precious Japanese citrus, and I have some recipe suggestions for you below.

Yuzu marmalade in mason jars.

What to Make with Yuzu

A mason jar containing Yuzu Ponzu (Yuzupon) - Japanese citrus dipping sauce.

What to Do with Yuzu Peels

If the yuzu recipe didn’t require peels, don’t throw them away! The zest of yuzu is known to have an amazing fragrance and flavor, and you don’t want to waste them.

Yuzu peels on a cutting board.

Different Ways to Enjoy Yuzu Zest

What do we do with all the yuzu zest? Well, it’s hard to use a whole lot of zest in one recipe, but we enjoy them a little at a time. As Japanese cuisine places great emphasis on elements such as color and aroma, yuzu can be the magical ingredient to elevate many dishes.

  • Garnish on top of soups (clear soup, miso soup, and mochi soup) and chawanmushi (steamed egg)
  • Add to pickles. I love the pickled daikon and pickled turnip with yuzu zest.
  • Add to a hot pot or in a dipping sauce.
  • Baked goods. Add it to pound cakes and cupcakes.
  • Make hot yuzu drink.
A black and gold lacquered bowl containing Japanese New Year Soup Ozoni.
Ozoni (New Year Mochi Soup)

How to Prepare and Store Yuzu Zest

In this recipe, I’ll show you a step-by-step guide on how to remove the zest from the peels and store them for later use.

Step 1: Remove pith from peel

Yuzu Zest 2

Use a sharp knife to gently scrape off the thick white pith that may not have come off with the peel. 

Step 2: Make sure all the pith is removed!

Yuzu Zest 3

You want to scrape off any slivers of pith. The peel without pith is zest.

Step 3: Julienne the zest.

Yuzu Zest 6

Cut the zest into thin julienned strips.

Step 4: Freeze in the bag

Yuzu Zest 7

Put the julienned yuzu zest in a resealable plastic bag and freeze the bag flat on a baking sheet.

A plastic bag containing yuzu zest.

After 30-60 minutes, the zest is frozen.

A plastic bag containing yuzu zest.

Once frozen, yuzu zest is easy to break into pieces. You can break it off as much as you need for your recipe. Or you can break it into smaller pieces and place them in an airtight container. If you prefer to organize your freezer in containers rather than bags.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can we keep yuzu zest?

You can easily store the zest for a month without sacrificing the freshness. I tend to keep it for half a year at least. It is possible that the zest looses some fragrance and flavor as time passes, but I still enjoy it.

Do we need to defrost first?

No, I break off the amount I need and use it directly without thawing.

Why do we need to remove pith?

Pith tastes bitter, and you do not want to introduce that to your dish, even when you use it as a garnish.

A plastic bag containing yuzu zest.


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A plastic bag containing yuzu zest.

How to Store Yuzu Zest

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Yuzu is a very precious fruit especially when you live outside of Japan as they are rare and expensive. The zest and juice of yuzu have a wonderful aroma and flavor, and we love using them in Japanese cooking. After juicing yuzu, don’t throw the peels. Here’s how to store and enjoy yuzu zest.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Freezing Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 1 batch

Ingredients  

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

Instructions 

To Store

  • Store it in the freezer for a month. I tend to keep it for half a year at least. It’s possible that the zest looses its fragrance and flavor, but it still brings a lot to a dish when needed.
Author: Namiko Chen
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: yuzu
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