Thursday, July 29, 2010

Frugal Lemons & Limes

I am all for buying local food (see the Dark Days Challenge on the sidebar), but I also embrace the trade routes that bring me olives, spices, and citrus. 

Year round, I keep lemons and limes in the fridge; their flavor is irreplaceable.  Here's how I get the most out of them.
Although citrus fruits keep best in the fridge, they give up their juice better at room temperature.  If you forget to set them out, a quick zap in the microwave is better than nothing.

For maximum citrus flavor, I often add the zest as well as the juice when only the juice is called for in a recipe (the zest is tiny bits of the peel, obtained with a small-size grater or zester; the pith, the spongy white part between the peel and juicy fruit, has less flavor and more bitterness).    I've done this in salads, sauces, puddings, and drinks.
That's my zester with the black handle behind the cutting board. 
In the winter, the final frugal thing I do with citrus before it hits the compost pile is simmer the used-up peels  in some water on the stove with cloves or cinnamon sticks.  Not only is the scent lovely, but I'm adding much-needed humidity to the air.  Hard to imagine that now, in high summer.


Jennifer Jo said...

I stockpile zest in little jars in the freezer. It simplifies future baking projects.

Margo said...

JJ, that's smart. I'm going to do that.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

I love having lemons and limes on hand. After I've squeezed and zested one to death I plop what's left in a bowl of water, microwave it for 10 minutes then let it sit for 10 minutes without opening the door. It fills the microwave with a refreshing steam, making it very easy to wipe clean the interior.

Margo said...

yay, another useful tip! I can stretch my citrus even further. Thank you, Christian.