Save Store and Freeze Lemon Zest

lemon-zest2I am a real fan of citrus.
I use a lot of lemon and lemon zest when I cook. Since California is my home state we have a lot of citrus here in the central valley.

I also have a wonderful friend that has a lovely Lisbon Lemon tree. That tree produces near football size lemons in abundance every year. Jeannie’s husband Tommy is gracious enough to pick those lemons and send them my way.

Then I try to do as much as I can with them.

Squeezing the juice and placing it in tiny jars in my freezer is simple enough. But all of that beautiful zest was ending up in the compost pile.

What a waste!

lemon-zest3So I one day decided to try and preserve it for a long time. Simply placing the zest in a jar in the freezer worked for a few weeks but then seemed to freezer burn. Then I remembered something my Cousin Randi had told me. She owned a bakery for about 15 years and one of the products available to bakers was something called “Lemon Flavedo”. A product distributed by Marque Foods … Ingredients: ground lemon peel, sugar and lemon oil.

lemon-zest4So why not make my own instead of buying a 45 pound tub?
That amount of zest would last me into the next century if I lasted that long.

So here is what I now do.

I have a 8 oz jar in the freezer. Every time I have to use a lemon I zest it first. Then squeeze the lemon juice to use immediately and save the rest in a small jar for later.

One at a time is easy compared to zesting 20 lemons at one time.

I use a micro plane that I purchased from William Sonoma years ago. I love it!

What I do is put on a a kevlar glove.
I purchased that through Amazon.

I use this glove whenever I grate something or must hold hot canning jars etc. Very handy and a must in my kitchen.

lemon-zest5I first grate the zest from the lemon. They get slippery even with the gloves rough surface … so take care if using bare hands. I grate onto a plate. When the lemon has the zest off … I cut in half and squeeze for later or use right then.

I estimate how much zest I have than add an equal amount of white sugar. Mix it up a bit and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The lemon oil and sugar and zest will mix up easily into what looks like sort of shiny grainy zest.

lemon-zest1Then I place this in my freezer jar to keep until needed.
I now have been using this method for about 6 months … the zest is preserved well and when needed I simply spoon the frozen bit out into my recipe.

It is hard but not like a block of ice.
I do not pack it into the jar tight or it most likely would end up a fairly solid block.

I did make the mistake one time of leaving this sugar mixture out on the counter too long and it hardened into a solid piece of sugar.

At first I was worried about the sugar in savory dishes but there was so little of it in the zest it does not seem to matter :)

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