26 March, 2011

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's

I love my citrus fruits.  If you made me pick a favorite, it would be hard as each one has it's advantages and each shines in different dishes.  Oranges - sweet and juicy, great on their own or in dishes, lime - fantastically fragrant zest, lemons - slightly less sharp than lime but that heady fragrance!  Even grapefruit is great with sugar syrup!
But the ones that I cook most with are lemons.  They can be quite costly in Singapore some times and it's not like I cook with them every single day to warrant me buying them fresh every week.  So I buy them when they are cheap and freeze them.
Obviously, one doesn't freeze the lemon just like that, unless you cook the entire lemon whole in your dish.  So I separate out the zest and the juice.  First I wash the lemons clean and dry them well and then proceed to zest them.  I have a confession to make - I don't own a microplane nor do I own a zester.  I use a fruit peeler and take off the zest in huge chunky pieces and freeze them. If my recipe calls for thin zest, I just chop the zest up finely.  It has worked well for me all this time but I'm sure purists would be up in arms seeing how I actually have a fairly significant amount of pith on the zest.  Again, the untrained palate of my husbands can't detect the difference so I blissfully continue what I'm doing until such a time where I can get my hands on a zester.

Then I cut the lemons in half and juice them.  Again, I do not have a juicer.  Terrible isn't it?  I cut my lemons right down the thickest point and use a dessert spoon to break each sac open nicely and twist my spoon round and round.  The juice drips into a bowl and I strain it through a sieve right into my ice trays.

The zest goes straight into small ziplock bags (which I reuse) - 1 lemon, 1 bag.  The juice is frozen into ice cubes and I bag them into ziplock bags too.  1 ice cube of juice is about 2 tablespoonfuls of juice.  I label the bags with dates on sticky labels and know that I'll always have lemon at hand!

Then the remains of the pulp and all go into a bowl with some water and get blitzed in the microwaves for 2 minutes.  Then the oven gets a good wipe down.  Clean and fresh smelling!  And all the lemons get used up!


  1. What a wonderfully economical method! One tip: if you have a cheese grater, you can use that to "zest" your lemons. I don't have a zester either, so that's what I do!

  2. These are great tips. I just so happen to have a zested lemon and no immediate use for the juice—thanks for the ideas!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I must admit that I don't have a cheese grater either! LOL!

  4. Thanks for the tip about the microwave! Shall be using it, thanks again.

  5. oooh I love the way you think. I also try to use up all parts of an ingredient.

  6. Hello! Thanks for dropping by my blog! And love this idea of using every part of the lemon, its great! :) Thanks for sharing!