Monday, February 8, 2016

Lemon Week: Storing Lemons and Lemon Juice

When life gives you lemons...TONS of them...what do you do?

Okay, now that we have that infectious and awesome song going, let's get on with the rest of this with the proper mood...

If you live in Arizona or have connections to the Phoenix valley, it's likely that you know that it's full on lemon season there! 

Last week a friend and her sister picked over 500 lemons and she brought a bunch home for our church women's group for a lemon night. We all got to take home bags and bags of lemons and have been thoroughly enjoying them. 

So this week I thought I would do 3 posts all about lemons. Today, how to store lemons and the juice to use. Wednesday, 3 recipes with lemons that I LOVE. And Friday, cleaning with lemons. I've learned some new tricks this past week, and am loving all them lemony goodness around the house. 

So first off, storing the lemons. 

At the meeting, it was suggested with the excess whole lemons that you can't use right away to put them in freezer bags and store frozen. Then when you need one, you pull it out and either let it thaw on the counter or microwave it for 20 seconds or so (more or less depending on your microwave). One of the presenters even swears that she gets more juice out of her lemons after they have been frozen than she does with a lemon that hasn't been frozen. I haven't tested this out thoroughly, but the lemons she used in her demonstrations (which had all been frozen) were insanely juicy. Lemons in the freezer generally last 3-4 months. 

Don't have the freezer space, but want your lemons to last longer than a week on the counter or 2-3 weeks in the fridge? 

Before freezers were a common household item, lemons were sometimes stored in jars of water for use within a month. The water helps "seal" the rinds and pores so that the lemon can't dry out or go bad as fast. I've done this before and it really does work! And they look so pretty on your counter. 

If all you're wanting is the juice though, and aren't going to be using the lemon rinds for anything, a quick and easy method is to freeze the lemon juice. Now, you can freeze it in freezer bags, but then you  have to thaw out the whole bag when you need some. I've seen the idea of freezing the juice in ice cube trays and then transferring the cubes to a freezer bag. Inevitably though the cubes end up sticking and you still have to hack off cube chunks. 

One idea that was shared that I thought was genius and used this past week was to get small disposable cups to freeze your lemon juice in. I couldn't find the little paper cups (condiment size or toddler drinking size), but I did find these great plastic storage cups with lids! I poured 2 TBS of juice into each container, put the lid on, and stuck them in the freezer overnight. In the morning they were ready to throw into a freezer bag and now I have "fresh" and real lemon juice ready to pull out for anything that needs it! Super easy and efficient! 

I'm pretty excited about the lemons and lemon juice in my freezer! The lemon flavor and smell is such a perfect pick me up this time of year when we're all starting to get tired of winter and looking forward to the warmth again! 

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