Lemons are a fruit that we use very often in cooking, both for savory recipes and for many desserts. This is why they can never be lacking. Very often, however, as citrus fruits are loaded with water, if they are not used within one or two weeks, the lemons tend to dry out, the juice shrinks and the rind becomes opaque. So here’s how to keep fresh and fragrant lemons.
The lemon is a fruit that we use very often in the kitchen, both for savory recipes for many desserts. This is why they can never be lacking. Very often, however, as citrus fruits are loaded with water, if they are not used within one or two weeks, the lemons tend to dry out, the juice shrinks and the rind becomes opaque.
Despite being very acidic, lemons spoil exactly like other fruits and it is not uncommon to find them moldy on the surface , even if we keep them in the refrigerator. In short, keeping lemons fresh all year round seems like a challenge. In reality, it is not, just put into practice some simple tricks to preserve the lemons.
How to store lemons in the fridge
Storing lemons in the fridge is the best way to keep them fresh. In fact, at room temperature, especially in summer, these citrus fruits tend to go bad much faster. Normally, away from sources of light and heat, lemons last about 7-8 days.
The advice is not to cut them if you do not intend to squeeze them right away. Keep them whole in the refrigerator, especially if it’s very hot. Close them in plastic food bags and place them o the middle shelf of the fridge, being careful not to crush them too much.
If, on the other hand, you have already cut the lemon in half, you should wrap the half lemon in cling film before putting them in the fridge. In this way, they will not lose water and will last for about 3 days.
Freezing lemons whole or in half is not recommended. Rather, if you want to keep the lemon in the freezer longer, avoiding waste, cut it into slices on a tray covered with parchment paper. Space them apart and freeze them like this. After a few hours, you can put them all in a plastic bag and defrost them if necessary for sweets and drinks.
How to store lemon zest
Even the lemon zest can be reused for many preparations. It is generally grated to add a fresh and fragrant note to the recipe.
For this reason, even if a lemon has dried inside and the pulp is now dry, you can always keep the zest, so as to have it available in the pantry. Two airtight glass jars are enough: one larger and one smaller (about 500ml).
First, wash the lemons well under running water and dry them. Cut them into four segments with a sharp knife, but without going all the way, so without detaching them completely.
Take a jar with an airtight sterilized seal (you can do it in the dishwasher, or in a pot of boiling water) with a capacity of 500 ml. Pour a few tablespoons of coarse salt into the jar and roll the lemons in the salt as well.
Put them in the jar pressing them well, then cover with more coarse salt. Close the jar and keep it in a cool and dark place, they will have to stay there for about a week or 10 days.
At that point, empty the jar, remove all the salt and dab the lemon wedges with absorbent paper. At this point, you can separate them. Pour them into the smallest jar, fill it with olive oil, and store in the pantry for 12 hours. The next day you can put it in the freezer: the peels in oil will keep for a long time.
Keeping only lemon juice is possible. A fresh-squeezed lemon lasts in the fridge for up to about 3 or 4 days, without losing its characteristics.
Alternatively, you can also freeze the juice: squeeze it into a plastic container, or into an ice cube mold and store it in the freezer. Defrost the juice as needed, for lemonade, or as a single serving to add to your recipes.