How to Preserve Lemons – Using the Whole Lemon
There are many reasons to love Meyer lemons. Sweetness, tartness, freshness, sunshine are just a few. The last two years I have been so happy to receive a box of Meyer lemons from my friend Angi at Schneiderpeeps. It seems that the Meyer lemon trees are very prolific and after you have harvested, frozen, juiced and preserved all that you need for your family, there are still plenty to share with others! We don’t live in an area where Meyer lemons grow usually, although I have heard you can grow them in pots inside. So, this makes them doubly special and appreciated. Not to mention that for the first few days I can display them in a bowl and enjoy the sunny look and lemony fragrance.
Then it is time to preserve the lemons. I don’t want to waste a drop. This year I added fermenting to the list of ways I would preserve the lemons. Last year I made lemon extract and used some to make Lemon Crinkle Cookies which were fabulous but I didn’t need any lemon extract this year. So, I learned about fermenting lemons from this post written by A Return to Simplicity, titled How to Preserve Lemons.. So I followed the directions and now have a large jar of lemon slices fermenting! Apparently, if they ferment correctly, the preserved lemon slices will last a very long time if kept in a cool storage area or refrigerated. I plan to use them as fresh lemon slices, on chicken or fish, in tea, anywhere a lemon slice might be needed.
The next thing I did was to slice some lemons and freeze the slices. I started by placing the slices on parchment paper and froze them. Once they were frozen, I popped them into a ziploc bag and put them back in the freezer. This way I can grab how many slices I need from the bag anytime!
All of the ends of lemons were used for juice. In addition, I juiced a few more lemons and have a pint jar of fresh lemon juice. I can use this to make cough remedies, and add to tea, add to fruit to prevent browning.
I also froze some of the lemon rind in case I need some lemon zest for a recipe. I have a recipe for spicey lemony pickled green beans and now I can just grab a piece of lemon rind from the freezer.
The last part is the best. All of the excess rinds, pulp etc can be packed into a quart jar or two and add white vinegar to fill the jar. Place the jar in the cupboard and let it sit for a few weeks. Take an empty spray bottle and add the lemon/vinegar liquid half way. Add water to the bottle to fill. Use for a natural antiseptic cleaner that smells great!
I also saved the seeds! Maybe I will start a grove of potted lemon trees!