When life hands you lemons...
Or limes, or oranges for that matter. When it comes to lemon, lime or orange in a recipe, I really dislike using bottled stuff and always use fresh if I can. But let's face it, most of the time you end up with half a leftover lemon and the rest goes to waste. I hate wasting food. A holdover from my (literally) starving youth.
Lemons were on sale a few weeks back and I picked up a crazy amount of them. Of those 60-plus lemons, I put up over half of them in less than an hour and none of it involved a jar. The trick to preserving all those lemons in a flash? Freeze them! Keep in mind this applies to limes and oranges as well :) No more shriveled-up half-lemons in the crisper bin. No more running to the store for just one lemon. No more lemon-shaped plastic bottles of artificial lemon juice. You can freeze a steady supply of fresh lemon slices, lemon juice and lemon zest to use all year long! To freeze lemon slices that you can drop into drinks, lay them out on a cookie sheet and set them in the freezer for a few hours. Once they’re solid, collect them into a zip-top storage bag, where they’ll stay frozen individually (and not clumped together into a yellow iceberg if you were to freeze all the slices together in the bag).
To freeze lemon zest, I use a Microplane to quickly and finely grate the peel. The zest is stored in a glass jar in the freezer and one little pint jar lasts quite a long time. Whenever a recipe calls for that random teaspoon of zest, it’s easy to scoop out as needed.
The rest of that zested lemon is juiced and poured into an ice cube tray. The frozen cubes then go into another zip-top bag to save space; I usually keep a few bags of lemon slices and lemon cubes in the freezer at all times. Each lemon cube (about a tablespoon’s worth) is the perfect serving size to brighten up dishes or drinks.
The leftover lemon rind can be used to polish a stainless steel sink or chrome faucet; sprinkled with salt to scrub a counter clean; and finally, ground in the garbage disposal to freshen the drain.
At the end of all this, you’re left with lots of lemons, a spruced-up space and an awesome smelling kitchen!