Sunday, March 10, 2013

Making the most out of your lemons and limes

Lemons and limes are sensational flavor enhancers. The zest boosts the flavor without all the tartness of the juice. The juice adds a punch of acidity which complements many foods, particularly rich things.

To select the juiciest lemon or lime, pick fruit that is heavy for its size. Heavy means juicy. If a lemon is large and light, it is not going to have much juice, no matter what you do to it. Which brings us to microwaving it for a few seconds to get more juice. This does soften up the fruit, making it easier to squeeze out the juice that is in there but it doesn't increase the amount of juice that is in the lemon or lime.

Sometimes, you don't need both the zest and the juice at the same time. That means, you are tossing out flavor. Zested citrus will keep a good while in the fridge but they tend to dry out or even grow mold. Once you squeeze a lemon or lime for juice, you aren't getting the zest off!

It makes sense to get all the good parts and save them for another recipe. When you buy a lemon or lime, zest it even if you don't need the zest (you can find tools and tips on zesting here and here). You can freeze it in a baggie and use it the next time you have a recipe that calls for zest. (The tricky part is putting them somewhere in your freezer where you can remember you have them.) After you zest, squeeze out the juice and freeze that if you don't need it immediately. As you can see in the picture, I like to freeze the juice in convenient 1 fruit portions.

Here are some recipes we have posted in the past that use the flavor of lemons and limes:

Chicken Gyro-Style

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Buttermilk Lemon Salad Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Mustard

Moroccan Couscous Salad

Pad Thai

Pasta with Greens and Garbanzos

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