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Lemons for your health and your tastebuds

Lemons for your health and your tastebuds contains some information about lemon nutrients, freezing lemons and a wonderful recipe for the next time you need a great lemon dessert.

Did you know the lemon peel has 10 times more vitamins than the juice? Lemon peel  contains essential oils that work at the cellular level to help fight infections. Lemon peels contain antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and most of the time we end up tossing it. Right?

So, if you have lots of lemons, here are some tips on freezing them in different ways for use during the “off” seasons. And since I have never done this, I am paying particular attention to freezing them whole and also freezing them in small “bites.”

ZESTING

  1. Wash the citrus fruit and allow it to dry prior to zesting.
  2. Remove the zest with a microplane, zester or vegetable peeler.
  3. Place the zest in a single layer on a piece of parchment or waxed paper and quick freeze it.
  4. After freezing, transfer the zest to a zip-top plastic bag. Label it with the date and type of citrus zest. The zest will keep frozen for about six months if kept tightly sealed.

WEDGES

  1. This is a good way to save lemon wedges for drinks.
  2. Cut lemon into wedges without zesting or removing any of the rind.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the wedges with space between the slices. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour until all the pieces are frozen.
  4. Store as you normally would — glass containers, Ziploc bags, etc, taking out as much of the air as you can before sealing. I’ve been experimenting with various types of silicon bags to try to minimize plastic usage.
  5. Place desired numbers of slices (frozen or not) into your favorite drink.

BITES

  1. Cut each lemon into small 1 inch bites.
  2. Place all bites into mason jar or freezer bags and freeze.

Use several in a drink or grate one or two on salads or soup.

SLICES

  1. I have been using this technique for years. I cut the lemon in half and then slice thinly. Spread them out on a cookie sheet or place them in a freezer bag making sure to overlap just half of the slices so they will separate easily after freezing.
  2. Lemonsforlife.com suggest putting the slices in a section of a muffin tin and twisting them into different shapes before freezing.
  3. You can also add some water to create lemon ice cubes.
  4. Store with your preferred method.

WHOLE LEMONS — if you have lots of freezer space

From Lemonsforlife.com

  1. This is ideal for using whole lemons strictly for juice.
  2. Zest the lemon before you freeze it, saving the zest for baking, salads, and sauces.
  3. Wrap the whole lemon in plastic wrap or foil.
  4. Place whole lemons in individual freezer bags, squeezing out as much of the air as possible before you seal it.
  5. To Unthaw: Microwave for 5 seconds or so, or run them under cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Slice in half, and squeeze out the juice.

Another use for using whole frozen lemons is, shred the whole lemon (no need to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your foods. Sprinkle it on vegetable salads, ice cream, soups, cereals, noodles, spaghetti sauce — get creative!

JUICE

There are many ways to juice and freeze— freeze in ice cube trays and store in bags, freeze in various containers. Use what you have in your kitchen and enjoy those precious citrus gifts!

Super-lemony Lemon Bars from Joanne Weir

Recently, I used this recipe in one of my email distributions and received some nice feedback. I enjoy Weir’s recipes and her documentary TV shows of travels around the world, all connected to food. I don’t eat many desserts, but when I do, lemon bars are my all-time favorite sweet. If you are lucky enough to have a lemon tree in your yard, I hope you saw the tips about freezing lemons earlier in this post. It’s a good way to preserve more of that seasonal bounty.

Weir says, “My mom made the most delicious lemon bars and I had to do a variation of them for my book, Kitchen Gypsy!  I added a bit of almond flour for texture and extra egg in and some lemon zest to the filling. These are super-lemony and really tasty. “

Writing this post reminds me that I still have a few dozen lemons on my tree (even after giving many bags away to friends and neighbors). I must make some of these for the freezer— if there is still room!

LEMON BARS

Crust- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, out of the refrigerator 30 minutes

Filling- 4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat an oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Sift the confectioner’s, flour, almond flour and salt together. Add the butter and using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture starts to cling together. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over the dough and gather the dough together to form a ball. Using your hands, press the dough into the bottom and up 1-inch along the sides. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, bake the crust until light golden and slightly firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. In the meantime, in an electric mixer, over medium speed, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the lemon juice and combine until well mixed.

Remove the crust from the oven and while it’s still warm, pour the filling into the warm baked crust. Bake in the oven until the filling is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and dust the top with confectioner’s sugar.

 

Gwen O’Neill has been a gardener for over 40 years and has always been a passionate cook. Her own health challenges led her to experiencing a variety of healing modalities. After finding that her health improved with eating more whole food and improving her nutrition using a real, whole food based supplement called Juice Plus, she committed to sharing this experience with others. The Tower Garden by Juice Plus makes it easy to grow produce right outside your kitchen dootower garden trio

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