Photo by Sarah Shatz
Forget everything you know about avoiding the pith. You know, that bitter, white spongy layer between a citrus fruit's rind and flesh, the one you're never, ever supposed to hit when zesting? As it turns out, it's not such a baddie after all, and its destiny may not need to be the waste bin.
According to recent research, the pith contains the highest concentration of anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids within a citrus fruit. Bioflavonoids strengthen blood vessels, improve blood flow, and aid the absorption of vitamin C, to name just a few health benefits. In fact, some researchers believe that because almost every food containing vitamin C also has bioflavonoids, health benefits attributed solely to vitamin C may actually be more accurately credited to the teamwork of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Now before you go gnawing on chocolate-covered orange peel, keep in mind that freshness matters for bioflavonoid potency, and candied orange peel probably doesn't rank high in that regard, unless you're making it yourself. Instead, try Dymnyno's lemon tart, which calls for a filling made with a whole lemon (peel, seeds, and all). Pulverized with sugar, butter, vanilla, and a few eggs, the whole lemon yields just the right texture, while the sugar keeps the pith's bitterness in check.
Note: If you can't find a Meyer lemon, find a regular lemon that has very thin skin -- it should feel heavy for its size.
Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart by Dymnyno
Makes 1 tart
1 large Meyer lemon cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 cup superfine suger
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Your favorite tart shell
Have you encountered other recipes that call for using a whole lemon or other citrus fruit? Do you have tips for reducing food waste in ingenious, healthy ways like this? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Like this post? See the Easy Everyday topic from last week: Spanish-Style Grilled Mushrooms & Peppers.