Citrus fruits are common in recipes to brighten it up. Rarely does a recipe call for an entire lemon. I am talking about the juice and the zest. So what do you do with the rest of it. Waste it is probably the most common thing that happens but is there a better way? I say yes! When citrus is in season and is a little cheaper it makes sense to freeze some citrus zest and juice for later. It is easy to freeze the zest and the juice.
The first step is to wash your citrus fruits well to remove any pesticides that may have been used, dish soap works well. Rinse then dry your fruit well. Leave your fruit on the counter for a while until it is at room temperature if it isn’t already.
Next, use a piece of wax paper and a microplane. Zest the colorful part (orange, yellow or green) of your citrus onto the wax paper. You do not want the white part because it is biter. throw it in a labeled zip top bag, one bag per type of fruit. Whenever you have a recipe that calls for a teaspoon of zest you have it waiting for you in your freezer! The zest does not need to be defrosted before using. The citrus zest may loose a little of its flavor the longer it is in your freezer, but the original taste will still be better then artificial.
Sometimes a recipe calls for thick or thin strips of the citrus zest. You can use a zester or make thin strips, or a vegetable peeler to make thicker strips. The thin strips may be frozen in a bag, but the thicker strips will need to be frozen on a cookie sheet and then transferred to a bag.
Time to juice your citrus fruit. A room temperature fruit will extract more juice then a cold fruit. Roll the fruit on the counter with a little pressure to damage the inside. This will cause the fruit to extract more juice. Cut the fruit in half and juice each half. You can use a reamer or a hand-press, whatever is your preference. Juice the fruit over a cup or bowl. You may use a sieve if you have one or if you don’t just fish out the seeds and pulp (if you do not like it) with a fork when you are done. The juice of a fresh lemon or lime tastes so much better then the bottled juice. (I still have a bottle of that juice in my fridge though to use when I do not have any fresh handy)
Juice the citrus and freeze them in ice cube trays. When they are frozen transfer them to a zip top bag and label it, one type of fruit per bag. One cube is about a tablespoon.
Slice the lemons (whole or half moons) then place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. When they are frozen transfer them to a labeled zip top bag. Grab one out to put in a glass of water, or whatever your preferred beverage might be. It acts like an ice cube but then adds a great taste.
To really use the entire citrus fruit, grind the peel down your disposal to make it smell fresh and bright.
- Buy one or more citrus fruit. Zest it, juice it or slice it and then freeze for later.