Do you have fruit trees? It's such a gift to have an abundance of fresh fruit right in your own backyard….but if your citrus trees are producing more than you can keep up with, don't let the extra go to waste! Here's how to store citrus in it's many forms, and recipes to use them on too!
STORING CITRUS FRUITS TO STAY FRESHER LONGER
Before we get to freezing, let's just talk about basic storage for fresh fruits.
Lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges can all be stored and kept fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks. To get the most juice out of them, roll them on the counter with the palm of your hand. Cut and squeeze – a pair of sturdy tongs will also help you get every last drop!
BASIC FREEZER TIPS
- Make sure your freezer is set to the right temperature. Yours should be kept at 0 degrees Farenheight, or -18 degrees Celsius.
- Keep your freezer about 75% full. There should be a little bit of room for air circulation around frozen items. If you don't have enough food yet to accomplish the task, no worries: use ice to fill some of the empty spaces.
- Add citric acid to fruits before freezing them. Add a solution that contains citric acid or Vitamin C to prevent oxidation which destroys nutrients.
- If you're unsure what foods can be frozen, take a walk through your grocery store's frozen aisles. If it can be frozen at the grocery store, it can be frozen in your home!
PROPER FREEZER STORAGE OF CITRUS FRUITS
- Sliced citrus fruit: Stack individual slices of citrus fruits between pieces of freezer, waxed, or parchment paper in a plastic airtight container. They will last up to six months. No need to thaw if they will be used in drinks. Thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature if using as a garnish.
- Citrus Fruits Whole: You can totally freeze whole fruits, like limes and oranges! Wash and pat dry. Freeze whole in a freezer bag to last up to 6 months. Thaw them at room temperature but know that they will be mushy!
- Citrus Juice: If you've juiced more than you can drink, you don't need to waste the extra! You can fill freezer-safe containers 3/4 full to allow for expansion. Juice can also be frozen in plastic drink cups and then transferred to freezer bags. They will last 8-12 months and can be thawed at room temperature.
- Citrus Zest: To store zest from lemons or limes in the freezer, you can place small amounts on a plate or a tray in mounds. Freeze for several hours, then transfer to small freezer bags. This will last up to 6 months, and does not need to be thawed before using.
OUR FAVORITE CITRUS RECIPES
If you've got oranges and lemons coming at you faster than you can think of how to use them, here's some yummy recipes we love!
- Make Smoothie Packs – Calling all smoothie fans! Stop shelling out $10 (or more) at that smoothie shop every time a craving hits. Turn your leftover fruit into grab-and-go freezer smoothie packs. You'll save loads of time and money!
- Fruit Ice Cubes – Want to bring the “wow” factor to your next cookout or dinner party? Slice or dice your leftover fruit into bite-sized pieces, then drop it in an ice cube tray, toss in a few fresh herbs, and cover with water. Your lemonade and tea will be oh-so-fancy!
- Freezer Jam – We don't like to pick favorites, but this one might take the cake. Round up your leftovers and make a batch of this incredible strawberry freezer jam! You can use other fruit, too.
- Lemon Blueberry Bread – As soon as you see the picture of this lemon blueberry bread, we know you'll be sold, so enough said!
- Fruit Salad – Not a fan of salad? This one just might change your mind. The secret ingredient in our fruit salad is whipped cream, and it is GOOD.
- Whip Up Some Fruit Salsa – This fruit salsa recipe is one of our tried and true party apps, and it's the perfect way to use up your leftover fruit.
- Make Fruit Kabobs – Grab your skewers and get to spearing! Add sliced fruit, cheese, marshmallow, veggies, or whatever you have on hand. This makes for a fun and healthy after-school snack!
- Top a Salad – Take your summer salad up a notch with some sliced berries, apples, pears, or peaches. Grill that fruit for an extra special treat!
- Puree It – Make your own applesauce, or puree other fruits to make your own baby food or top yogurt, oatmeal, or toast.
There you go, now you never have to throw away a citrus fruit again! What are your favorite citrus recipes? Leave a comment below!
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