Saturday, March 5, 2016

3 things to do when life gives you lemons

It's citrus season! Here in California, that means that Meyer lemons start appearing in people's backyards and on the free stuff table at work. My friend Dominique, who lives in Sonoma County, brought a special bag just for me. Even if you aren't lucky enough to have a free supply of beautiful fruit in season, you should be able to find it for a good price at the market, and the flavor should be ideal to use it in things you can have all year round.

1. Steep the peels in vodka for infused vodka cocktails or limoncello

Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of zest from 7-8 well-washed lemons, leaving the bitter white pith behind. Usually I make limoncello, but I'm taking it easy on the sugar right now, so I think I'll toss a little rosemary in this jar next and just mix it with sparkling water when it's ready, in a couple of weeks. To make limoncello, you can follow this Arancello recipe with lemons instead of blood oranges. 
 2. Make Lemon Salt:
Zest three lemons with a Microplane style grater. Hold the lemon in your hand and the grater on top of the lemon so you don't go much into the white pith without stopping.
Spread out the zest on a dinner plate and leave on the counter for a few hours to dry out. When it's ready, the color will look darker and the zest will feel dry to the touch.

Mix the zest with 1/2 cup coarse sea salt and let the flavor meld with the salt for a couple of days before using.
Place the mix in a jar and keep in the cabinet. use on top of avocado toast, hummus...anywhere both lemon and salt would add a little something special.
3. Freeze the juice in ice cube trays
Yeah, I fell for the trend and bought one of these cute squeezer things. No, it doesn't really work very well. At least I didn't get one in every color. It does, however, do a pretty good job with citrus that has been zested, so I was able to use it to fill an ice cube tray with lemon juice. Freeze the juice overnight and pop
the cubes into an airtight container or zip bag to pull out when you want to add flavor or acid to a recipe.

Somehow I managed to buy bags that are tinted blue, making it hard to see what's inside! The label will make it easy to figure it out.

And there you have it! Three ways to stretch out lemon season for the months to come.

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