|(Copyright: The Far Side, Gary Larson)|
I have lately been buying bags of lemons and limes, instead of getting pre-made lemon and lime juice, because Trader Joe's has organic bagfuls for cheap and I like to avoid the preservatives that come in the pre-made stuff.
But I must admit, I am guilty of throwing away mushy, un-used citrus after a time, and I am leaning into that no-waste lifestyle all the kids have been talking about. With that in mind, I started wondering if I could freeze lemon bits - you know, after I've butchered the lemon. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) It turns out, you absolutely CAN use that whole lemon, without wasting a single bit!
To start, zest your lemons. I use a little handheld zester (pictured), which gives me a decent wrist workout, but you can use a micro-plane if you have one. Go wild and zest them all. It's tedious business so listen to podcasts while doing it or you will get really bored. I recommend Hello From the Magic Tavern.
|I zested limes too. Ain't they cute?|
(Please ignore the funky zest chunks on my fingers.)
Once you've got your li'l zesties chillin' (my rap name is now officially MC Li'l Zesty!) you can move on to the juicing phase of our homesteading project. You want to roll those babies on your countertop with the palm and heel of your hand to release all the juices and oils. Trust me, it makes them easier to juice, the juice tastes better, AND you get more juice! Once you've gotten them good and relaxed with your countertop massage, you can cut them into halves and start squeezing. Here is the set up I like to use...
It's just a couple of mesh strainers over a big 4C measuring cup. You can use any method you want. If you're super cool, you can do that hand-squeeze thing that chefs do. Or you can do it like Chef Gina Galvez does in the following video. This looks great, but believe it or not, I do not own a pair of tongs! That's so dumb, right?! I need to get some.
Once you've got your juice collected, measure it out by teaspoonfuls into an ice tray of some sort. I am using a little tray that some mango mochi from Trader Joe's came in. It's perfect for this!
You'll never guess what comes next... go ahead, guess... I'll wait... You freeze it, guys! Once frozen grab another old jelly jar to store your lemony nuggets in. And the next time you need lemon or lime zests or juice for a recipe you just grab one! It's so great!
But, wait, we're not done. You'll be left with a bunch of wonderful-smelling citrus rinds. Don't throw them away! If you don't have a garbage disposal, you can compost them. If you DO have a garbage disposal, I've got a real treat for you. Cut them up into smaller pieces. You don't have to be neat about it. Just half the halves and maybe do a couple more rough chops to break them up. Then layer them into your disposal with ice cubes. Like, do a handful of rinds then a couple of cubes, then some more rinds, then a couple more cubes, etc. Turn the water on cool and let the disposal rip. The ice will freeze the grease that's on your disposal blades, the oil from the rinds will help sweep it off, and the chunkiness of the rinds will carry the yuck right down to disposal nirvana. Your disposal will be clean and it will smell great!
Congratulations you! You bought a bag of lemons and not a single one of them went into the trash. No go make lemonade and hummus!
P.S. If you need to go buy a zester or something, can you use my Amazon link? Just click the little Amazon box below. It won't cost you any more $$, and I'll get a little kickback. Thanks!