Visually aesthetic with a deep citrus aroma that is quite different from the light fresh aroma you get from fresh cut citrus. Dehydrated lemon wheels, for example, smell more like lemon curd.
The aroma from dried citrus is not as powerful as from fresh, so this should be considered when using. If you want fresh bright lemon aromas as well, then you might want to combine a dehydrated wheel with a discarded twist. However, these more subtle yet deeper aromas are perfect in a delicate cocktail such as The Madeline, where a twist would completely overpower it.
Another reason ‘why’ is about reducing waste. Dehydrated or Dried citrus wheels or slices will not go off if stored properly, unlike freshly cut slices that only have a few good hours of freshness. Furthermore, if you have fresh fruit you might not get around to using, cut it into fine wheels and dry them out to be used another day rather than letting them go to waste!
However you look at it, the process is slow and fairly dull…but at least it’s very easy.
1. Cut thin and even wheels of fresh citrus.
2. A) Put the slices in a dehydrator until they are dehydrated. Simple eh?! tricky eh?! Depending on how well your dehydrator works and how thin your slices are, this will take somewhere between many hours, and many, many hours. So, this is not a last minute garnish idea for your party, you need to plan ahead.
Also if you do make some, make a lot and store in a very dry, sealed container to use at a later date.
2. B) You probably don’t have a dehydrator…so:
Place your citrus wheel on a wire rack, then the trick here is to try and use waste heat energy. So, the rack can be placed above an oven while you are cooking, or placed into an over as it cools after you have cooked.
You want warm and ideally moving air to gently dry out the slices of fruit. Not so hot as to burn the sugars in the fruit, you guessed it, you have to just be patient. Again, hours not minutes.
The refrigerator is another very dry place in your house. So, you can move the rack into it in between sessions in or above ovens.
3. When fully dry / dehydrated, store the slices or wheel in a dry and airtight container. Just make sure they are fully dry before storing to ensure they don’t spoil over time.