Saving the season: Lemons | Freezing, Drying, and Preserving

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Close-up overhead shot of a lemon slice that has been dried.

There’s nothing fairly like having an abundance of citrus. I feel it accounts for about 50% of all pleasure throughout the winter months. The pucker-inducing taste, the colourful colour, the brilliant perfume: there’s nothing fairly prefer it. And, in case you’re like me, you wish to have a few of these flavors year-round. I take advantage of lime/lemons in a lot of my cooking- it’s a weekly, nearly every day staple.

Nonetheless, in america, not all citrus produces year-round. It’s a seasonal crop that arrives within the late fall and early spring. Fortunately there are three other ways to save lots of Eureka and Meyer lemons (and limes!) with the intention to benefit from the acid taste pop anytime of 12 months. Going ahead, I’ll be utilizing the overall ‘lemon’ however know these strategies will work with completely different types of lemons.

1. Freezing Lemon Juice and Zest

Overhead shot of lemons that have been zest and juiced.

Utilizing your freezer is likely one of the most useful instruments in saving lemons. I’m at all times reaching for lemons to complete a sauce or lemon juice for a vinaigrette. Freezing the juice in 1-tablespoon measured ice dice trays and the zest in a freezer-safe container offers you entry to lemon juice and zest anytime. One fast word in regards to the zest. I freeze it on a sheet tray then switch it to a jar when frozen.

Zest and juice will final at the very least three months within the freezer however may save for as much as a 12 months. There’s actually no hurt within the older juice/zest. Nonetheless, the flavour will degrade over time. Use the frozen juice/zest as you’ll recent juice/zest.

If going this route, I extremely advocate investing in a microplane and even probably a juicer. I really like having a hand-held press, primarily for the convenience of storage. Nonetheless, there are different (bigger) citrus juicers in the marketplace or an attachment for your kitchen aid.

 

2. Dehydrating Lemons

Overhead photo of sliced lemons, ready for drying.

Proudly owning a dehydrator is likely one of the prime purchases I’ve made for my kitchen. It might appear huge and hulking. You might query why this merchandise is taking on a lot house when it solely has one perform. Nicely, let me inform you, that one perform is wonderful.

Considered one of my favourite purposes is drying citrus. Not solely does dried citrus make for a ravishing presentation, it will possibly turn out to be useful for infusing tea and water or deliver a little bit of taste to soups and broths.

You can even dehydrate the peels separate from the segments. Use a spice grinder to make your individual lemon powder. Use the citrus powder for spice blends, marinades, and soups. Dried lemons can final years. Make certain the lemons haven’t any moisture left and retailer in a glass jar in order that it’s straightforward to inform if moisture is going on. See the technique for drying lemons.

Side-angle photograph of a dozen dried lemon slices.

 

three. Preserving Lemons

Close-up overhead photograph of lemons preserved in lemon juice and salt.

Lastly, the conversation-starter preservation. Whereas the primary two choices of saving lemons left the citrus at status-quo, preserved lemons take the flavour up a notch. Preserved lemons are moderately magical (and this text from Serious Eats is a good dive into why).

On the base of this recipe, it’s merely lemons and salt. There are, nevertheless, many variations. Some methods to make preserved lemons name for further lemon juice as an alternative of urgent the juice out of what you’re preserving. Some recipes additionally name for including spices and chilis. It’s actually as much as what you assume you prefer to most.

Storing

Better of all, preserved lemons can final nicely upwards of two years (if they really make it that lengthy in your kitchen!) After the preliminary month(s) of fermenting, switch to the fridge and use as desired. Simply ensure that your lemons are absolutely submerged in lemon juice throughout the fermentation stage. If not absolutely submerged, mildew would possibly begin showing.

Makes use of

Preserved lemons can be utilized in most of the identical purposes as conventional lemons. Nonetheless, the flavour of preserved lemons is usually a bit extra impactful and have an underlying floral taste. Use preserved lemons in dressing, grain pilafs, sauces, stews, and dips (assume hummus!) Simply be sure you add in the direction of the very finish of cooking. Any over-cooking of preserved lemons can drastically scale back that great taste for which you so patiently waited.

Hyperlinks for various preserving strategies/flavorings:

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