Get Fresh…with LEMONS
Spring is the perfect time to try fresh new ideas for foods you eat every day. Below are some of our favorite ways to get fresh…with LEMONS!
When life gives you lemons, make lemon sugar! It's great sprinkled on strawberries or stirred into tea. It's also a fantastic way to garnish the rim of a glass of lemonade or a lemon cocktail! Did someone say lemon drop?
To make lemon sugar, mix together the zest of 1 lemon and 2 cups sugar in a bowl. Transfer the sugar mixture to an airtight container like a mason jar, shake and let sit for at least 1 hour. The oils will penetrate the sugar and release flavor. Store on the counter or in a cool dry place. The sugar may clump up, but just give the jar a shake and it's as good as new. The sugar will last indefinitely and the flavor will intensify as time goes by.
Did you know that you can add lemon peels to olive oil to make a lemon-infused condiment? Drop the peels of 1 to 2 lemons into a cruet and fill it with good olive oil. Don't have a cruet? Simply remove the plastic insert from an olive oil bottle you've already opened and partially used. Slip in the peels and replace the insert. Steep your citrus oil for 1 week for the most flavor. The oil can be used before then, but the flavor intensifies when held longer. It's good for up to 3 weeks. The lemony oil is great drizzled on top of fish, pasta or salad. We also love it on avocado toast!
Already juiced a lemon, then discover you want to use the peel? Not to worry--it's easy to peel juiced lemon halves with a vegetable peeler. Use a standard wooden lemon reamer to help the lemon peel hold its shape. You can now use the peeler to peel away strips, leaving the pith behind. If you don't have a lemon reamer, you can also use your thumb on your non-dominant hand as an anchor inside the lemon and use your other had to guide the peeler.
If you're seasoning a chicken with lemons for roasting, don't throw away the rinds--just toss them right in with the chicken to roast alongside. You can eat the whole thing! Slow roasting the rinds caramelizes and sweetens them, resulting in a deeper, more concentrated lemon flavor. We like to add squeezed lemon halves to chicken thighs and roast until the chicken is done.
Lemon Wash for Berries
Finally, much like the vinegar wash we showed on a previous episode, rinsing berries in acidulated water made with lemons can make them last longer. It's easy to do by adding the last squeeze of 1 lemon to a couple cups of water and rinsing the berries with the solution. Rinse the berries over the sink with cold water and allow them to dry. The acid in the lemon water helps to prevent mold from growing, which helps your berries last days longer in the fridge. This trick works on blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.