If you live in a place like the Pacific Northwest, where citrus is a treat in winter (and just not that good the rest of the year), knowing how to preserve that fresh flavor is a must. Now you can make preserved lemons, which are wonderful in Mediterranean dishes, or a tangy sweet marmalade, but those take a little bit of time and are best with really fresh citrus.
I had some beautiful Meyer lemons that were just starting to get wrinkly and sad but still had a lot of life in them. Fortunately, I was able to capture their essence in four easy steps:
- Use a microplane grater to remove the zest from the fruit, leaving the thick white pith behind.
- Cut the fruit in half and juice either by hand or with an electric juicer.
- Place the zest in an airtight container and freeze.
- Pour the juice into ice cube trays in 1-2 TBS portions then freeze.
You can leave the juice in the trays, or pop the cubes into a zip top bag and put them back in the freezer.
I LOVE doing this with all sorts of citrus: kumquats, limes, lemons, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, you name it, I’ve tried it. Even the aptly named Ugli fruit! Didn’t work so well for that one.
You can use the zest in baking, salad dressings, and marinades. I like dropping a citrus ice cube into a glass of water, or dropping a few in a pitcher when we have guests over. The juice is also fantastic for dressings and marinades, sauces, baking, and mixed drinks. It’s fresher the bottle variety and conveniently portioned!
What is your favorite citrus and what would you use the preserved zest or juice in?