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Why you should always freeze your lemons?

Lemons are one of the most versatile fruits around. They add flavor and freshness to so many dishes and drinks. While fresh lemons are great, frozen lemons can be even more useful. Freezing lemons allows you to preserve nutrients, save money, and always have them on hand. Here’s why you should get into the habit of freezing your lemons.

Introduction

Lemons are a citrus fruit packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They add brightness and acidity to both sweet and savory recipes. Most people use lemons while they’re fresh, but freezing lemons can actually help you get even more from each fruit.

Freezing lemons is easy. Simply wash them, slice into rounds or wedges, lay flat in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags or containers. Frozen lemons will keep for up to a year.

Read on to learn why freezing your lemons can help you save money, cut food waste, and always have lemons at the ready.

Preserve Nutrients

Lemons are FULL of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that supports immune health. In fact, one lemon can provide over 30 mg of vitamin C, or 50% of your daily needs. Vitamin C content does decrease over time after harvest.

Freezing lemons right after purchase locks in the vitamin C. Research shows that frozen fruits and veggies retain more nutrients than fresh produce stored at room temperature or in the fridge.

Freezing stops the enzyme and microbial actions that cause nutrient loss. Vitamin C and other nutrients like folate, potassium, and flavonoids remain high in frozen lemons.

Save Money

Lemons can be expensive, especially in the off-season. Their price per pound can easily double between winter and summer.

Stocking up on lemons when they’re cheap and freezing them means you won’t have to pay a premium later. Even without seasonal price swings, buying in bulk is almost always cheaper.

Let’s compare costs for fresh vs. frozen lemons:

Lemons Fresh Frozen
Price per pound $3.99/lb $1.99/lb (on sale)
Pounds purchased 1 lb 5 lbs
Total spent $3.99 $9.95
Estimated cups yielded 3 cups 15 cups
Cost per cup $1.33/cup $0.66/cup

Buying in bulk when lemons are on sale and freezing can cut the cost per cup in half. Over time, this can lead to major savings.

Reduce Food Waste

It’s so frustrating when fresh produce goes bad before you can use it. We’ve all had to throw out mushy lemons that were forgotten in the back of the fridge.

Freezing lemons prevents waste, as they’ll keep for up to a year in the freezer. You don’t have to worry about them spoiling.

You also don’t have to buy lemons as frequently. Keeping a stash in the freezer means you likely won’t run out.

Freezing lemons is an easy way to cut down on food waste and save money.

Always Have Lemons on Hand

Running out of lemons mid-recipe can be a bummer. Keeping frozen lemons on hand means you’ll always be prepared when a recipe calls for them.

Frozen lemons can be substituted for fresh in most recipes. And they’re so versatile:

  • Add to dressings, marinades, and sauces for acidity
  • Zest for lemon flavor without the juice
  • Juice for lemon water, lemonade, or cocktails
  • Wedges for garnishing drinks and seafood
  • Bake into desserts like lemon cake, bars, or meringue pie

Having frozen lemon slices, wedges, and juice ready to grab from the freezer makes it easy to use lemons anytime inspiration strikes.

Tips for Freezing Lemons

Freezing lemons is simple, but following a few guidelines will ensure you get the most out of them:

  • Wash thoroughly before freezing.
  • Slice or cut into wedges, removing seeds.
  • Lay lemon pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Freeze until solid, then transfer to freezer bags or containers.
  • Squeeze juice from remaining lemon halves before freezing.
  • Label bags with the date and use within a year.

Frozen lemons are best for cooking applications rather than eating raw. The freezing process slightly softens the rind.

For maximum zest, grate lemons before freezing. You can freeze zest in a freezer-safe jar or bag.

Best Uses for Frozen Lemons

While fresh lemons work great in any application, frozen lemons are ideal for:

  • Cooking: Soups, curries, baked goods, etc. Their soft flesh and skin break down easily.
  • Juicing: The juice can be used just like fresh.
  • Zest: Grate off what you need while frozen.
  • Drinks: Add frozen slices or juice to water, tea, cocktails.
  • Marinades and dressings: Soften slices in a marinade or break down in a vinaigrette.

Avoid eating frozen lemons raw, as the softened flesh can taste mealy. And don’t use frozen slices for garnish, as they’ll wilt.

Favorite Frozen Lemon Recipes

Want to put all those frozen lemons to use? Here are some delicious recipes:

Lemon Chicken Soup

Chicken soup gets a blast of bright flavor from frozen lemon slices. They soften during cooking.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This quick bread makes the perfect breakfast. The lemon glaze provides a tangy finishing touch.

Lemon Risotto

The citrus flavor transforms this classic rice dish. Garnish with Parmesan and fresh parsley.

Lemonade Margarita

Forget the bottled sour mix. Frozen lemon juice blended with tequila and triple sec makes margaritas shine.

Lemon Pepper Salmon

Salmon gets a triple punch of lemon from slices, zest, and juice. Bake or grill until flaky.

Should You Use Fresh or Frozen Lemons?

Fresh and frozen lemons both have their merits. Here’s a quick comparison:

Fresh Lemons Frozen Lemons
Taste Bright, crisp flavor Milder flavor
Texture Firm flesh Softer flesh
Juice High volume of juice Lower juice yield
Zest Zests beautifully Loss of oil, less zest
Best uses Eating raw, garnishing Cooking, baking, juicing

As you can see, fresh lemons are best for applications where you want bright flavor and maximum juice and zest. Frozen are preferable for cooked dishes.

Keep fresh lemons on hand for garnishing, making lemonade, or using raw. Use frozen lemons in recipes that cook down, like soups, sauces, and baked goods.

Conclusion

Freezing lemons can help you save money, reduce waste, and always have them available. Their bright, acidic flavor livens up so many recipes.

Lemons freeze exceptionally well, keeping their nutrients intact. While they soften a bit, they can be used in place of fresh lemons in most cooked dishes and drinks.

Follow proper techniques for freezing lemons in slices, wedges, juice, and zest. Use within a year for the best quality.

Keep a stash of frozen lemons to make soups, dressings, baked goods, and other recipes shine. You’ll never run out of this versatile, vitamin-packed citrus again!