13 November 2009

The post about lemons

N8tr0n's mother's side of the family owns a citrus/avocado nursery in Fallbrook, CA. I know. So cool right? Every time I buy lemons at the grocery store I have daydreams about all the relatives in CA just wandering out to the backyard to grab a couple of ripe lemons off of the tree. Whether or not lemons are in season at that time does not enter into my daydream. Nor does the amount of manual labor and hard work that it takes to actually run a nursery. It's a daydream.

Alas, I do not have a lemon tree here in Colorado. Even if I did I can guarantee you that I would kill the thing dead (RIP four or five jade plants my MIL has gifted to me). As I pick around the piles at Sunflower, I try not to think too much about how much better my lemons would be if they had come directly from Gramma Jo.


I know...poor me. However, the fact that my lemons aren't shipped directly from Fallbrook doesn't make me love them any less. I adore a good lemon. (I would eat them straight more often if I could keep myself from visualizing the enamel on my teeth disintegrating.) So many foods are improved with just a squirt of lemon. Lemons can also make it smell like you've just cleaned your entire house. So when I'm wandering around Costco sans baby (!) and I walk past the gigantic bag of bright yellow citrus, I can rarely resist buying a bag. I end up picking up some every couple of months and juicing them is only the beginning. Here are a few of the things I suggest for utilizing a bag of lemons:

:: After the lemons are juiced, I freeze all of it in 2 tablespoon portions. I noticed that amount is what most of my recipes call for, and they are easy to break in half if I need an odd number of tablespoons.

:: I zest four or five of the lemons. Half of that I freeze as is so that I can use it in recipes for later. The other half I mix with sugar to preserve for desserts.

:: I microwave some of the peels in a bowl full of water for 3-5 minutes. It helps loosen up any microwave grime and deodorizes too.

:: I boil some of the peels...pour the water down the sink and run the garbage disposal for a few seconds to clean and deodorize.

:: I dip half of a lemon in course salt and give my wooden cutting board a good scrub. I usually treat them with food grade oil after that.

:: I bake something lemon-y (of course!) . Something like the Lemon Lemon Loaf from a new favorite cookbook that I've been dying to tell you all about. It was all I could do to actually put the loaves into the oven as I was busy eating the batter.

:: (This one isn't about the lemons) The microplane pictured above is one of my all time favorite kitchen tools. Seriously, it is fan-freakin'-tastic. It is a must-have in the kitchen if you want to use a lot of lemon zest, like to use fresh Parmesan cheese, grate nutmeg, whatever. Get one.

I would love to hear more lemon tips. Please do send them my way.

Oh and, happy weekend everyone.



Femme Facetious said...

Oh, I adore lemons! Now you've got me wanting to buy a costco-sized bag too.

One of my favorite things to do with fresh lemon juice is use the ice-cream attachment on the kitchenaid to make lemon sorbet. The recipe I have calls for two cups of juice and makes a lot of sorbet, but it doesn't last very long anyway. :D


siberianluck said...

why do you utilize the Paamayim Nekudotayim for bullets these days? My brain is generating all sorts of parse errors ;-)

Laurel said...

My suggestion for lemons involves you moving to San Diego. You probably don't want to hear it.

Greeneyes said...

A resounding agreement from this corner regarding the Microplane! It is a life-changing kitchen gadget.

paws said...

You sound like Giada..."Lemons are aMAZing. I always have a big bowl of them in my kitchen."

michelle said...

I love lemons, too! I do all the same things with them. And I have a fabulous recipe for lemon chicken (you might already know about it, Denise found it years ago in Creme de Colorado).

I love my microplane, too! It makes you want to grate things.

Kimberlee said...

I love that you filed the post about lemons under "The 411".

Joellen Maddock said...

I'm afraid to send a comment in response to your masterful writing abilities, but I need to thank you for your great coverage of the "versatile lemon". I am thanking you in behalf of the lemon industry here in Southern California.....I am sure they would be more than pleased at the coverage you have afforded them.
Yes, it is wonderful to just go out and pick a nice aromatic and juicy lemon--as needed.
In fact I did it just this morning when Lorne, Laurel, Gail and Will were coming for lunch...... My salad just had to have plenty of lemon juice on the crab.
Lemons, as a rule, are picked about every couple months (in warm weather. Next time we have a picking, and the weather isn't too cold for shipping,
I'll send you some. there is a great difference in the flavor.

Gramma JO

Jaime said...

One more reason why we get along. I too love lemons. I remember early in marriage going to the grocery store with Ty and buying some lemons. "what are those for?" he asked. "um, what are they NOT for?" was my reply. :) I always have to have some on hand because seriously, who knows when you will need some? I mostly just consume mine (zest in banana bread = awesome. squirt in your clam chowder = divine. etc. etc.)

One of my fav lemon tricks is a wonderful natural remedy that SERIOUSLY WORKS to cut the crud in your throat or just help it if it's sore.
1. boil H2O
2. juice one lemon
3. Combine those 2 plus a spoon full of honey and 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper.
4. drink
Works everytime. :)

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