I have some often used recipes that use citrus zest in a sauce. Sometimes it is a little hard to manage fresh as the fruit stays around for a little too long and I really want to juice it before it goes downhill.
So can I zest all of the fruit and freeze it. These recipes have seriously flavored sauces and I am concerned the zest thawed from frozen would result in muted flavor.
I had a ton of oranges and lemons arrive in a produce delivery and it was way more than we could use in any reasonable timeframe. I used a vegetable peeler to remove all the zest in larger pieces, and then froze it that way - “zestiness” has been maintained. When I need to use some, I just take it out and chop it finely or throw it in the food processor with other ingredients.
Knowing myself, the orange zest I once made and froze could well have sat in its baggie, in a shelf in the freezer compartment door, for a year or more. All I know for sure is that when thawed it was unusable, and that I’ve read that the volatile oils which flavor citrus zest dissipate and stale quickly - whatever quickly means. Were I to try again, I’d wrap it better and store it where the cold was consistent.
I have started freezing lemons whole in a Ziplock bag. Mostly because I am lazy but also because then I can make slices for garnishes or to use in recipes where I want whole pieces of fruit. They defrost pretty well. Not as good as fresh but useable. As Greygarious pointed out I’m sure you lose volatile oils but keeping the fruit whole might help preserve the oils better than zesting it first. You could zest it while the fruit is still frozen.
I wouldn’t say it’s the opposite. I have never done a side by side comparison, but am more than willing to believe it’s not as good as fresh. To me it seems better than throwing it out. I usually grate it on wax paper, and fold it up before putting it in a zip top bag. I think freezing zest in pieces, and freezing the whole fruit are good options too.