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Thread: Anyone freeze whole lemons or limes?

  1. #1

    Anyone freeze whole lemons or limes?

    I love what fresh lemon or lime juice does to a recipe and I use them all the time in cooking, in grain salads and dressings, to finish off some soup etc. Ah, would love to have a lemon tree. But kind of hard in an apartment in the east coast.

    Anyway, there are times that I don't haven any on hand. Plus, it would be great to keep a few in reserve, especially when there is a good deal. Something about going to the store and seeing limes at 75 cents makes me go huh. So of course bought a few this week when I saw them on sale for .33.

    I remember reading that you can freeze lemons and limes (whole). I think it was Mark Bittman that mentioned it in an article.

    Does anyone do that? And, does it keep that fantastic freshness/flavor that you get with fresh citrus? Would it be better to juice first? I froze a lemon once, and the taste seemed off -- but maybe it was simply the lemon, not the freezing. I'm going to give it another try, but was interested if others do this.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    San Diego, CA
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    We have lemon and lime trees in our yard, and when the harvest is plentiful I zest and juice the fruit, then freeze the juice in ice cube trays. It's pretty much indistinguishable from fresh, as far as I can tell. The zest freezes nicely as well, although it's not quite the same after a couple of weeks.

    I've never tried freezing whole fruit. With the amount that we get I could fill my entire freezer, which makes it somewhat impractical .

    Amy

  3. #3
    I DO! If I can't use them before they go bad, I zest first and freeze the zest seperately; then freeze the fruit either whole or cut in half. I halve them sometimes as you don't always need a whole lemon/lime and it is ashame to have to defrost the whole thing if you're not going to use it. I used to juice them first and freeze the juice in ice cube trays but I felt the flavor was off this way, but not when I freeze them whole. Plus I seem to be able to get more juice from them after they have been frozen. And you can easily defrost quickly in the microwave if you forget to take them out ahead of time.

    Karen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Hollywood, California
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    I would also freeze the juice in whatever quantity is reasonable for thawing.

    You could also try freezing the zest.

    I wouldn't freeze the whole fruit - like any other fruit it would turn to mush as it thaws so it's only going to be good for juice - and would be more difficult to juice after thawing.

    I have on occasion resorted to frozen lemon juice from the supermarket and found it to be pretty indistinguishable from fresh squeezed - especially for the way I was using it - i.e. cooking and baking. Its only drawback was the price - it's not at all like that awful reconstituted lemon/lime stuff that is sold in the plastic "fruits".
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    I once tossed a whole lemon in the freezer and later found it didn't really work for me because, as BD mentioned, the texture was weird (I use wedges and slices, not just the juice) so I probably won't be doing that again. But I do zest my lemons before using them and keep that in the freezer. I use it in sauces and compound butters and some baking and find it still imparts a nice bright flavor.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
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    I freeze them whole and havent had any trouble with them getting soft.
    When I made the limoncello I had a lot of 'nude' lemons, but they froze just fine.
    I keep them in the refrigerator a long time by putting them in a ziploc bag. Chill them first or they seem to sweat. But they keep a long time that way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
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    There seems to be very different experiences regarding the texture of thawed frozen lemons or limes.

    I've always found that the texture of frozen fruits and vegetables is altered during home freezing because the ice crystals are quite destructive to the "structure" of the fruit or vegetable. To a lesser degree this is also true of frozen proteins.

    Commercially frozen foods are flash frozen which inhibits the formation of large ice crystals -- to some degree of course since even commercial frozen fruits/vegetables are not as crisp as fresh.

    Given the different outcomes, I would freeze a lemon/lime or two and then thaw and see if the result is acceptable to you when thawed.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  8. #8
    I freeze mine whole, and when I need some zest, I use my microplane on the frozen fruit.

    I have also microplaned the frozen pulp itself, if I just want some lemon flavor in my dish.

    Defrosted, they are very juicy and I use my reamer.

  9. #9
    As for me, I freeze the whole lemons in order to save the freshness when they are soft. If you cut the lemon and freeze it you will have the lemon without any juice when you need it. Try to freeze small lemons in order to use them for the particular cooking.
    Catering Melbourne - all types of food

  10. #10
    Thanks everyone. Interesting to read all the different approaches, its time me to try it again and see how I like using whole lemons that were frozen. And, then go from there.

    And, will definitely try freezing some zest. I never thought of that. Thanks so much for the tip.

    Just tossed a lemon in the freezer.

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