Citrus Vinegars

Derek Wagner

Nick's on Broadway, Providence

After zesting and juicing citrus, the white domes you’re left with don’t seem very useful. But those pithy domes still have more flavor to give! At Nick’s on Broadway, chef Derek Wagner calls these the “hearts” of the fruit, and uses them to make batches of citrus-infused vinegars that are used in everything from the bar to savory dishes to the pastry kitchen. You will need just enough vinegar to cover the spent citrus, so how much vinegar you make will depend on how much fruit you’re using.


  • 4 to 8 lemon hearts (white part that’s left after the fruit has been zested and juiced for other purposes)*
  • Distilled white vinegar (enough to cover)
  • Sugar (3/4 cup per quart of vinegar)
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  • Sealable glass jars


Submerge the citrus hearts in plain white vinegar and store them in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks (they can soak for longer, but need a minimum of 2 weeks to extract enough flavor).

After two weeks, strain the vinegar into a pot. Add sugar and slowly bring it to a very gentle simmer for 3 minutes. Taste the vinegar and add salt for seasoning if needed. Allow to cool and pour into jars and refrigerate.

*You can also use lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, or other citrus fruits for this recipe.

How to use your citrus vinegars:

  • In dressings and marinades, like a lemon-rosemary vinaigrette or tangerine-thyme-honey vinaigrette. Finish dishes like roasted fish or chicken, or simple broccoli or asparagus.
  • Add a touch of vinegar to simple syrup, toss with sliced fruit, and serve as dessert.
  • Use as you would shrubs to add brightness and acidity to mixed drinks. (You can add a touch more sugar or infuse the vinegar with herbs, if desired.)


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



1 quart vinegar

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Waste-less Citrus