Saturday, April 21, 2012

lemons, lemons, lemons

This post begins Lemon Week!  I'll be posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this coming week all on one theme - (you guessed it) Lemons!


You've heard it said, "When life gives you lemons - make lemonade."  Well, as much as I like lemonade, I think there are a few other things you can do with those lemons!  Recently, I was blessed with 5lbs of lemons (locally grown) and at a loss of what to do with them. I didn't want them to go bad so I decided today is the day!

After a few stinging cuts and lots of chopping... I've come away with over 5 cups of lemon juice!!

I'll share with you two methods of extracting that wonderful juice - the hard way and the easy way.  Yes, I've done both.  I put the hard way in here because I know not all of you have a juicer but, because of my promise to you, I've included the easy way too - it just takes a bit more equipment!

The hard way...
Don't get me wrong.  I love a challenge - but this was a little overwhelming.  I mean... 5lbs of lemons juiced by hand?? That is not quick and it's also not easy but I wanted to let you know it is an option.






The best way to do this by hand is to cut the lemons in half, using the juicer (pictured above - it's the wooden thing) and then to squeeze it into a cup or small bowl.  I used the measuring cup but pretty much anything will work.

After you've got a good amount, you will then filter it through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl.  This will take out any small seeds, large seeds, and a lot of the pulp.

*Helpful hint:  do it a few lemons at a time each day so as to not completely overwhelm yourself.

Or you can choose -

The easy way...
I'll admit this is definitely this best (and fastest) way to do this, though it does require a juicer.

Take your lemons and cut them into chunks (as pictured above.  Then, using your juicer, toss them in and let the juicer do the work!  It's really that simple!

After I juiced them though, I found that the juice (because it also contains the peel) is pretty pulpy.  To combat this, I poured the juice through the fine mesh strainer and let it sit to filter (though I occasionally had to stir it up with a spoon).

When it would no longer filter, I was left with a lovely bowl of pulp.  Reserve this to the side because it can be used many ways.  {*psst!* Keep a look out for my recipe on lemon pulp icing coming soon!} 

After all my lemons were juiced and filtered adequately, I was left with about 5 cups of lemon juice.  Talk about lemon overload!

One quick way I found to keep the lemon juice for future needs was to pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze.  Then once the trays were frozen I tossed the lemon cubes in a clearly marked bag (wouldn't want to mix up my lemon cubes with turkey broth, eh?) and put them back in the freezer.




I'll be experimenting with lemons off and on this week and I'll share more recipes soon.  You'd be surprised at the creative ways you can use lemon juice when you have an overabundance of it.  If you're in a rush to figure out something quick, check this list of 20 Lemon Dessert Recipes!

Check back soon for the recipe to one of my favorites desserts: lemon bars! 


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