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Tips for Storing Fresh Lemons

Updated on October 19, 2015
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Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.

How to Have Fresh Lemons and Fresh Lemon Juice Available all the Time

How many uses can you think of for fresh lemons or fresh lemon juice? How many food recipes and drink recipes can you think of in which one or other of them are incorporated? We can of course simply buy fresh lemons as and when we need them but this can often be an extremely wasteful process. We may simply need a small squeeze or splash of fresh lemon juice and find ourselves throwing the remainder of the lemon away! Alternatively, we can buy bottled lemon juice but wouldn't you prefer to have the real thing at your fingertips, in the quantities you require, at all times? This page looks at both a simple way of preserving fresh lemons and thus fresh lemon juice, as well as some uses for the fresh lemons which we preserve in this fashion.

Washing Fresh Lemons

Washing the Fresh Lemons
Washing the Fresh Lemons

Before you even think about using or freezing fresh lemons, it is important that you wash them and remove particularly any wax in which they may have been coated as an aid to preservation. The easiest way I find of doing both of these things is by using two large basins or bowls. First of all, I add cold water and ice to one bowl. I then place the lemons in the other bowl and pour on boiling water. I stir the lemons carefully around for about twenty seconds with a large slotted spoon before using this spoon to transfer them to the bowl of iced water. The boiling water will wash them and remove any wax while the iced water will terminate the cooking process which the boiling water will start.

I leave the lemons in the iced water for around five minutes before draining them through a colander and drying them in a clean tea towel.

How to Prepare Fresh Lemons for Freezing

Preparing the lemons for freezing
Preparing the lemons for freezing

The way in which we are going to preserve the fresh lemons is by freezing them. We are going to freeze them in such a way, however, as to ensure they can later be used for a multitude of different purposes. We do this by cutting them in different shapes and sizes. In the example above, I have cut lemon wedges to go in one small plastic dish and small lemon cubes almost to go in to the other. Slices of lemon are another good idea. Think in the first instance of how you generally serve fresh lemon or how much juice you generally require at any one time.

When the lemons have been washed, dried and cut as desired, the dishes can be sealed and popped in to the deep freeze. It is a good idea to wait a couple of hours, until the lemon pieces have started to freeze, and then simply and gently shake the dishes. This will help to ensure that the pieces don't stick together and cause problems in this respect later.

Using a Frozen Lemon Segment when Stewing Apples

Using a Frozen Lemon Segment when Stewing Apples
Using a Frozen Lemon Segment when Stewing Apples

One very simple use for a frozen segment of fresh lemon is when stewing apples or other fruits. Lemon juice is normally added to stop the fruit from turning brown as it cooks. In this instance, I simply added a frozen segment of lemon which quickly defrosts in the growing heat and serves the same purpose. No additional lemon is wasted and the job is done perfectly.

Fancy a Gin and Tonic, Anyone?

With ice and a slice?

One of the most common uses for slices or small pieces of fresh lemon is as garnishings for a whole host of drinks, such as gin and tonic. The lemon is not only a garnish in many instances, however; it is also used to add a little extra zing to the taste of the drink. What would notmally happen in such instances is that ice is added to a glass, followed by the various liquids and the lemon slice or piece last of all.

Think, for a moment, what this process actually causes to happen...

Almost immediately, the ice will begin to melt. It will turn to water, essentially watering down your drink and affecting the taste and the overall enjoyment. Would you ever ask a barman to please water down your drink? Unlikely! Bars and pubs are likely to be punished by law for such an act, so why do we do it ourselves by using ice?

Where we instead add a piece of frozen lemon to a glass and add the liquids thereafter, we are basically killing two birds with one stone and improving the quality of our drink. The ice cold lemon will chill the drink in the same way that ice would but it would also melt as fresh lemon juice, thereby adding the flavour enhancement we require. So simple - so delicious!


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