Okay, I’m going to leave you with a very quick tip for today, a tip that I hope will make a huge difference in your life, just like it was for mine.
Here’s something you may not have known: you can freeze whole citrus fruits. Is that what you’re saying?
I will tell you that if you are already familiar with the magic that occurs when you use fresh citrus in your cooking, then this tip may be able to change the way you look at buying lemons from now on.
There may be a time or two when you glance at this article and think “What on earth would I want to do with frozen whole citrus fruit??”
And you will understand why this is so, keep reading.
Frozen Whole Citrus: How to Do It
Why Cook with Fresh Citrus?
You can add citrus flavor to food with bottled juice and freeze-dried citrus peels, but nothing compares to the flavor you get from fresh juice and zest.
There’s just something entirely different about it when it’s fresh. A magnificent meal will be taken up to another level ten notches if you cook with fresh citrus fruits.
There has never been anything like it. When I am making a recipe where lemon or lime is the star of the show, fresh juice is absolutely essential.
I will sometimes use bottled juice when it is less crucial, or just needed to act as an acid in a chemical reaction.
A few of my favorite recipes which feature fresh citrus are listed below:
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks
- Easy Orange Chicken
- Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet
- Lime Crema
- Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad
- Lemon Blueberry Cream Cheese Galette
- Lemon Butter Green Beans
- Simple Cranberry Sauce
- Mexican Red Lentil Stew
I’m Saving with the Freezer
There is a problem with buying a single lemon or lime, as they can be quite expensive for the average person.
Buying them in bags is quite a bit less expensive than buying them individually, but I never seem to be able to devour an entire bag before they shrivel and die, so I’m stuck with them until the end of the season.
Until, that is, I discovered that whole citrus fruits can be frozen, and I had no idea how to do so. In other words, you do not have to be worried about purchasing a whole bag at once.
Use one or two of them now, then stash the rest in your freezer, and use them whenever you need them.
Lemons and limes that have been frozen can be almost as easily zested as fresh ones, and once thawed, their juice will be easier to extract.
This is because freezing and thawing weakens the cell walls of citrus fruit and vegetables.
Using the microwave or running the fruit under warm water for a few seconds will quickly thaw out the fruit. Whenever possible, zest the fruit before you thaw it because it is difficult to zest once it has become soft after thawing.
Is It Necessary to Freeze the Citrus Whole?
The citrus fruit does not have to be cut or sliced before freezing. The peels can also be frozen on their own, but I prefer to freeze the fruit whole.
My recipes often combine the juice and zest together for extra citrusy flavor, and when they are whole (and frozen solid), it is easier to zest them.
Also, keeping the insides of the fruits whole prevents them from drying out as quickly as they do when they are opened. The best protection comes from nature.
Using the Following Method
- Remove any waxy coating from your fruit by washing and drying it. You don’t want the waxes to stick to your zester if you plan to zest your fruit straight from the freezer. While the waxy coating will actually protect them in the freezer, it can also be a nuisance.
- The entire citrus fruit should be placed in a bag that is heavy duty and sealed up tightly like a freezer bag. There is nothing worse than freezing food exposed to air because it sucks out moisture and kills off the flavor of the food due to the loss of moisture.
- Make sure the citrus is frozen. There is no exact date that can be set for how long the citrus will last in the freezer, so it is not possible to give an answer. They will, instead, slowly dry out over a period of time as they are exposed to the sun. During a long period of time. I would say months at a time. There may be a difference in the flavor of the zest if and when the peel begins to dry out, but the juice in the peel is still quite tasty and can be consumed. For this reason, when it comes to frozen foods, I usually try to make sure that I use them up within three months so that they remain at their best.
- Frozen fruit can be used by removing it from the freezer bag and zesting it while it is still frozen solid. By microwaving or running the fruit under warm water once it has been zested, the fruit should be thawed through. You can squeeze the juice as usual after it has been thawed. Slice in half and squeeze. You should be able to squeeze the juice from the citrus quite easily.
That’s all there is to it. My hope is that in the future you will be able to take advantage of citrus as much as possible (in terms of flavor and use) without having to pay a high price.