Friday, March 11, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons......Don't Waste Them

    I am a fresh citrus buyer. Some people make do with the Real Lemon and Real Lime juices, but I like being able to cook with the juice and the zest. I find it to be a very calorie conscious way of adding flavor to my food. However, occasionally I over estimate how many I need for the week and end up with unused citrus fruit. I usually keep them around for a while. You know, until they become borderline unusable. But do I toss them in the trash when they still haven't been used? Not a chance. Limes are $0.60 each, and lemons...don't even get me started on the lemons.
    I have found a bunch of ways to make use of citrus when they are fast approaching their best by date. But the technique I find that works best for my household is this; simply use a carrot peeler and remove the zest. Place it in a freezer proof container that has a tight sealing lid. And freeze. Yup. It's that simple. You could probably use a micro planer or a zester to do this, but I feel that the larger the surface area you leave on the zest, the less likely it is to freezer burn or for the natural oils to dissipate. When you are in need of citrus zest, just grab the amount you need from the freezer and chop it up.
    Now for the juice. All you need to do here is remove the juice from the pre-zested lemons, and pour the juice into an ice cube tray. Once the juice has frozen, transfer the cubes to a resealable plastic bag. Each cube usually yields about 1 Tbsp. of juice, so you can use it in recipes as needed.

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