05 January 2018

How to freeze lemons to use year-round

It's the height lemon season right now, and if you have a tree of your own, you may have more lemons than you know what to do with. Well, not worry because one of the best things to do with all those lemons is also the simplest and most healthy.

Freezing your lemons is becoming popular now that research has shown it's the healthiest way to ingest the sour fruit. Lemon water is known to detoxify and alkalise the body, but beyond squeezing a wedge into the glass, the peel of the lemon is usually discarded. The problem with that is the peel is the most powerful part of the fruit!

Limoniods are found in the skin of all citrus, but mostly in lemons. It is what imparts the bitter flavour to the fruit and has been found to have antiviral,  cholesterol-lowering and anti-cancer affects (1). Medical research has found limonoids effective on many strains of cancer, particularly in oestrogen-dominant breast cancer (2), digestive, and upper respiratory cancers (3). This is excellent news!

So what is the best way to keep lemons year-round and utilise the best parts of the fruit? Freeze them and grate them on your food. Yes, it really is that simple, and it gives incredibly fresh flavour to your dishes, whether soup, salad, meat, fish, or even dessert.

The best way to go about freezing your lemons is to slice them into wedges or quarters, place them equally spaced on a baking sheet or tray that will fit in your freezer and freeze until solid, or dry on the outside. When they are ready, just toss them into a freezer bag and keep them through the summer, so you'll always have fresh lemon to grate.

You would be amazed at the versatility of freshly grated lemon. My favourite uses are on fresh salads, baked potatoes, all soups, eggs Benedict, fresh berries, or even into a hot cup of earl grey tea. I recommend you try it everything and see what you like.

Another option, for those that may want to take full advantage of all lemon's health benefits, is to puree the lemons, skin and all (make sure to use organic!) and freeze them in an ice cube tray.

The resulting 'lemon cubes' will maintain a strangely soft texture, but work well tossed into a large glass of water, both chilling it down and adding all the flavour and good health properties to your glass. Here I did it with limes from our tree.

Keep a baggy of the frozen puree cubes to pop into your water for fresh, health-boosting citrus water.

Have you tried it? Let me know what your favourite uses are.

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17892257
    2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23117440
    3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19856118

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