Saving the season: Lemons | Freezing, Drying, and Preserving

There’s nothing fairly like having an abundance of citrus. I feel it accounts for about 50% of all pleasure throughout the winter months. The pucker-inducing taste, the colourful shade, the brilliant perfume: there’s nothing fairly prefer it. And, should you’re like me, you wish to have a few of these flavors year-round. I take advantage of lime/lemons in a lot of my cooking- it’s a weekly, virtually day by day staple.

Nevertheless, in the US, not all citrus produces year-round. It’s a seasonal crop that arrives within the late fall and early spring. Fortunately there are three alternative ways to save lots of Eureka and Meyer lemons (and limes!) so that you could benefit from the acid taste pop anytime of yr. Going ahead, I’ll be utilizing the overall ‘lemon’ however know these strategies will work with completely different forms of lemons.

1. Freezing Lemon Juice and Zest

Overhead shot of lemons that have been zest and juiced.

Utilizing your freezer is likely one of the most useful instruments in saving lemons. I’m all the time reaching for lemons to complete a sauce or lemon juice for a French dressing. Freezing the juice in 1-tablespoon measured ice dice trays and the zest in a freezer-safe container provides you entry to lemon juice and zest anytime. One fast observe in regards to the zest. I freeze it on a sheet tray then switch it to a jar when frozen.

Zest and juice will final at the very least three months within the freezer however might save for as much as a yr. There’s actually no hurt within the older juice/zest. Nevertheless, the flavour will degrade over time. Use the frozen juice/zest as you’d recent juice/zest.

If going this route, I extremely advocate investing in a microplane and even probably a juicer. I really like having a hand-held press, primarily for the benefit of storage. Nevertheless, there are different (greater) citrus juicers in the marketplace or an attachment to your kitchen assist.


2. Dehydrating Lemons

Overhead photo of sliced lemons, ready for drying.

Proudly owning a dehydrator is likely one of the high purchases I’ve made for my kitchen. It could appear massive and hulking. Chances are you’ll query why this merchandise is taking over a lot house when it solely has one operate. Effectively, let me inform you, that one operate is wonderful.

One in all my favourite purposes is drying citrus. Not solely does dried citrus make for a good looking presentation, it may well come in useful for infusing tea and water or convey a little bit of taste to soups and broths.

It’s also possible to dehydrate the peels separate from the segments. Use a spice grinder to make your individual lemon powder. Use the citrus powder for spice blends, marinades, and soups. Dried lemons can final years. Ensure the lemons don’t have any moisture left and retailer in a glass jar in order that it’s straightforward to inform if moisture is occurring. See the approach for drying lemons.

Side-angle photograph of a dozen dried lemon slices.


three. Preserving Lemons

Close-up overhead photograph of lemons preserved in lemon juice and salt.

Lastly, the conversation-starter preservation. Whereas the primary two choices of saving lemons left the citrus at status-quo, preserved lemons take the flavour up a notch. Preserved lemons are reasonably magical (and this text from Critical Eats is an effective dive into why).

On the base of this recipe, it’s merely lemons and salt. There are, nevertheless, many variations. Some methods to make preserved lemons name for additional lemon juice as an alternative of urgent the juice out of what you’re preserving. Some recipes additionally name for including spices and chilis. It’s actually as much as what you suppose you prefer to most.


Better of all, preserved lemons can final effectively upwards of two years (if they really make it that lengthy in your kitchen!) After the preliminary month(s) of fermenting, switch to the fridge and use as desired. Simply make sure that your lemons are totally submerged in lemon juice throughout the fermentation stage. If not totally submerged, mildew would possibly begin showing.

Makes use of

Preserved lemons can be utilized in lots of the identical purposes as conventional lemons. Nevertheless, the flavour of preserved lemons generally is a bit extra impactful and have an underlying floral taste. Use preserved lemons in dressing, grain pilafs, sauces, stews, and dips (suppose hummus!) Simply remember to add in the direction of the very finish of cooking. Any over-cooking of preserved lemons can drastically cut back that fantastic taste for which you so patiently waited.

Hyperlinks for various preserving strategies/flavorings:


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