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freezing whole lemons

a friend told me that she puts an entire lemon in the blender and then freezes the result. she uses the frozen mush in anything that calls for lemon. is this a good idea? wouldn't the pith add too much bitterness to the result. it doesn't sound like a good idea to me. what do others think?

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petitbleu added about 1 year ago

This is an interesting question. The only lemon I've ever puréed whole is a salt preserved one, which works really well. I know that Meyer lemons are commonly used in their entirety, but plain old lemons have a reputation for bitterness. However, I recall reading something interesting on the Cooking Issues blog by Dave Arnold in which he froze some whole lemons, then thawed them and reported the flavor to be akin to bergamot (a somewhat hard to find citrus fruit that plays a starring role in Earl Grey tea). If I were you, I would get the friend who does this to let me sample some of the stuff or a dish in which it is used. I don't think it would necessarily be too bitter, but the only way to find out is to try it.

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added about 1 year ago
Voted the Best Answer!

I agree with petitbleu about doing some research and tasting it, maybe try one and test it. Interesting about the Dave Arnold finding also. If you have a surplus of lemons you could try zesting and freezing the zest and juicing them and freezing the juice in ice cube trays, that way you would avoid the bitter pith and you would have zest and juice when you need it.

the reluctant cook added about 1 year ago

I like to zest, juice, and the freeze my zest in the juice.

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Mrs Currie added about 1 year ago

Once, after removing the peel with a potato peeler to make lemon vodka, I was left with a LOT of pith covered lemon innards. I thought I'd save time by processing them into a puree. I tried it with a couple and frankly the result was very bitter... Now I just juice them by hand and do the ice cube tray thing as Suzanne suggests.
However, freezing the fruit may break down the pith and result in a less bitter pulp as petitbleu remarked.

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chl0525 added about 1 year ago

The River Café's Strawberry Sorbet (http://food52.com/recipes...) uses whole lemons. You roughly chop them and pull out the seeds before dropping them into the food processor to make the puree. I've made this with regular lemons and there was no bitterness. Perhaps the strawberries and sugar cut the bitterness? I don't know. I can say that the sorbet was very tangy in an I-just-gotta-keep-eating-this sort of way.

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SeaJambon added about 1 year ago

An interesting idea. I'd be much more worried about the seeds than the pith. Blender blitz those seeds (and most lemon varietals have LOTS of seeds -- I love Meyer lemons for everything BUT the seeds as they are too plentiful in mind) and you'll release some salicylic acid (stuff in aspirin). Lots of folks (like anyone on a Coumadin or Warfrin for blood thinning) should be careful about how much SA they ingest.

In the "for what it is worth" department, today I started experimenting with lemon pith (blitzed in the food processor and tied tightly in cheesecloth) as a replacement for commercial pectin in jams/jellies (supposedly, the bitter white pith is where all the natural pectin is stored). So, took 2 lbs of small lemons (approx 10), microplaned off the zest and froze; juiced and froze juice (I do it flat in small ziplocks, then "break off" the amount I need for cooking), removed all remaining seeds (pretty easy at this point) and "pureed" (as best possible) remaining pith in the food processor. The cheesecloth ball of pith was added to the jam making and removed just before placing in jars. Seems to have worked really well... So, just another idea for "waste not...want not". Also, avoids some of those chemicals even the "all natural" (WTH?) store bought pectins have.

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LE BEC FIN added about 1 year ago

jambon, how is the flavor of frozen lemon juice? if it was front and center in iced tea, could you taste it as different from fresh juice? thx.

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SeaJambon added about 1 year ago

LBF - seems to me that it is the same a fresh (i.e., doesn't degrade) but I encourage you to try for yourself. Also, you probably already know the trick about freezing ice tea in ice cube trays and using those cubes to cool you drink (cools without diluting) but "just in case"... :)

the reluctant cook added about 1 year ago

Kind of a side note: for lemons I have seated but for which I did not need the juice, I cut them in half and freeze them. When I need to really scrub a stain, I let the lemon half thaw a bit, put salt on it, and scrub away!

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Kitchen Butterfly added about 1 year ago

I've never used tart, Eurekas but have done lots with Meyers.

I have blitzed whole meyers, sans seeds and frozen the puree in ice cube trays.

I've also frozen whole Meyers, and then used them from frozen, by grating/microplaning.

I have a friend who does the grate/microplane thing with regular lemons.

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Kitchen Butterfly added about 1 year ago

I've never used tart, Eurekas but have done lots with Meyers.

I have blitzed whole meyers, sans seeds and frozen the puree in ice cube trays.

I've also frozen whole Meyers, and then used them from frozen, by grating/microplaning.

I have a friend who does the grate/microplane thing with regular lemons.

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