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  • Writer's pictureTerri Windover

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.

Lemon Juice:

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!

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