Making Use of Lemons - Saving Juice and Recipes!
Too Many Lemons - What to Do?
I am lucky to have a lemon tree that does very well in our climate in Southern California. When the lemons are ripe, I'll have up to 50 at a time to pick and use. Of course, I give some extras to my neighbors and I am sure they appreciate it, but I still have too many! If you find yourself overwhelmed with lemons from your own tree, there are ways to save the juice for later. I get a lot of lemons in the winter, juice them, and save the juice in the freezer for lemonade in the warmer months and for recipes. Here are several ways to save the juice for later and some recipes plus ways to use the fresh juice and flavorful zest from the rind.
(All photos by SharpLee on HubPages.)
Supplies You Will Need to Juice and Freeze for Later
Hand juicer or electric citrus juicer
Fine grater, citrus zester tool, or microplane grater
Paper towels or drying towels (flour sack towels work well)
Freezer containers or mason jars with lids
Marker or grease pencil
Wax paper (optional)
This is an electric citrus juicer!
Prepare the Lemons and Save the Zest
Wash the whole lemons in a clean kitchen sink with warm soapy water to remove any pesticides and dirt. Rinse and then dry them with paper towels or a flour sack towel and lay them out on the clean counter or some wax paper. Before you juice the lemons, you may want to save some zest. Zest is the outer colored part of the lemon and it contains the concentrated , flavorful oils. Using a fine grater or special zester tool, you can lightly go over the rinds, getting the colored part (the white part underneath is bitter, so avoid this part), and save the zest in a plastic zippered bag, eliminating as much air as you can, and freeze. When you need some zest, pull a little bit out, and then immediately seal up the rest before it thaws and return it to the freezer.
Juice the Lemons
You will need a cutting board, a knife (I use a serrated knife so that I don't slip when cutting), citrus juicer, a large bowl, and freezer containers. I cut the lemons in half, holding them with the stem end on the left or right, and cut across the middle. Next, juice each half, and put the remaining rind in the bowl to dispose of later. The juice can be strained to eliminate the pulp and seeds or just strained to get out the seeds. Then poured into the freezer containers, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top to allow for expanding when freezing. Masking tape works well to make a label on the container with a grease pencil or permanent marker. Make sure you use plastic containers that are freezable, otherwise they might crack. I like to use mason jars, allowing room for freezing, and the metal lids. If the lids get rusty after several uses, then I replace them. I have had the best luck with the one cup or two cup mason jars since I have had the larger pint jars crack (usually because of expanding). The smaller mason jars freeze fine. Another idea is to freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then remove them and place in freezer plastic bags. Then, later, you can take out the amount you would like for a recipe.
"When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade."
It is easy to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and make lemonade! Or thaw out the frozen juice and make it the same way!
- in a pitcher, add one cup of lemon juice, one cup of sugar, and 6 cups of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and test to see if it is good for your taste. If it is too strong, add a little more water. Pour into ice-filled glasses.
Freezer Lemonade Base
Make ahead a lemonade base to freeze for later use!
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups lemon juice
- In a saucepan, heat and stir water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the sugar mixture and mix well. Pour into mason jars, cover, label, and freeze. To use, thaw and add an equal amount of water. Pour over ice-filled glasses.
My mother-in-law has a favorite gelatin dessert that uses lemon juice and our family loves it! It has been served for years at our get-togethers.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 to 5 hours (Prep and Chilling)
- 1 (6-oz) package of lemon gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind (zest)
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 (12 oz) cans chilled evaporated milk
- 2/3 cup melted butter or margarine
- 3 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- In a metal bowl , dissolve the gelatin, sugar, and salt in the boiling water. Add the lemon rind and juice. Put the mixture into the refrigerator and chill until partially thickened (about 1 1/2 hours). Meanwhile, in another metal or glass bowl, melt the butter and stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Form a layer of graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of a 9" x 13" glass pan, reserving some crumbs for garnish. After the gelatin has chilled and is soft set, take it out of the refrigerator and add the evaporated milk. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spoon the gelatin mixture into the pan on top of the crumb layer. Gently spread out an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved crumbs and chill until firm (about 2 hours).
Lemon Rinds for Grandma's Hands
My grandma used to rub the lemon rinds, left over after squeezing out the juice, on the back of her hands. The oil in the rind was a moisturizer, and the acid in the lemon helped lighten the age spots.
These are so yummy!
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- one grated rind of lemon (yellow part)
- powdered sugar
- Crust: Cream butter and confectioner's sugar. Add salt and flour (2 c) and mix well. Pat into a 9" x 13" greased baking pan. Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- Filling: Mix beaten eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, flour (1/4 c), lemon juice, and lemon rind. Pour over hot crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until center is set and edges are light brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. When cool, cut into bars.
Lemons and More Lemons!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Leave a comment if you like!