Do you cook with or use lemons around your house? I do. In fact, there are so many ways that I use lemons from making household citrus cleaner from its peels, natural air fresheners and of course, I am always using lemon juice or zest when I cook.
Where I live, lemons are plentiful during the winter months and I am often at a loss on how to use them all. But come summer, I wish that I had lemons again instead of having to head out to the store to buy them.
In warm winter areas, it’s not unusual to be gifted with lemons from friends and neighbors. This bunch of lemons came from our veterinarian, who also happens to be our neighbor – (I didn’t mention to him that we already had a lemon tree). So with all of these lemons, I decided to preserve them so that I would be able to use them throughout the rest of the year, once they had disappeared from the trees.
Here are 3 easy ways to preserve lemons whether you grow them yourself, receive them as gifts or buy them at the store:
1. Freeze whole lemons. Did you know that you can freeze an entire lemon? This is an especially handy tip when you have too many lemons at once or if you have bought lemons and haven’t had time to use them right away. Simply place whole lemons in a plastic freezer bag and make sure to squeeze out all the air before freezing. When you are ready to use them, they will be somewhat ‘mushy’, but can still be zested and/or juiced. Place them in the microwave to help thaw them out or in a bowl of water for 15 minutes.
You can also freeze whole, zested lemons, but be sure to cover them with foil first, to help keep them from drying out. This is a great tip when you need lemon zest, but not the juice right away.
2. Freeze the lemon zest. How often do you find yourself needing lemon zest for a favorite recipe. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply reach into your freezer and grab a pinch or two of lemon zest? Simply zest your lemon and place the zest in a plastic freezer bag. The zest will keep its flavor for over a year! Whenever you need it, take some out and add it directly to your dish.
3. Freeze lemon juice into ice cubes. Lemon juice is used in all sorts of ways including in desserts, lemonade and savory dishes as well. I freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and then store them in plastic freezer bags. They are the perfect size and easy to melt in the microwave.
*All of these freezing tips can be used for other types of citrus including grapefruit, limes and oranges. So, make the most of your citrus, whether you harvest it or buy it at the supermarket with these helpful DIY garden tips!
Want to learn more on how to use lemons? Check out how to make lemon salt for a delicious flavoring for your favorite dishes!