Extra Helpings: Freezing Lemons?


Vonna asks: I recently read on the Internet that you can freeze a lemon and when you need it, take it out of the freezer and grate it… skin, seeds and all. No waste! Does this work? Can I use the grater on my food processor to do the same thing?

I’d never heard of this, Vonna, so I headed to the kitchen to test.

1. Yes, this does “work,” and you can grate the frozen lemon in your food processor.

2. Don’t waste your time or your lemons. You aren’t going to find the tart, bright taste you desire. Instead, you’ll find bitterness and an unpleasant aftertaste… like how the losing candidate is going to feel on November 7.

The problem with the freezing/grating method is that you end up eating the entire lemon… including seeds and white pith. The white pith is what contributes to the bitterness.

Have you ever “zested” a lemon? The outside yellow layer of the lemon, the zest, contains all of the fragrant oils. When you zest, you are supposed to remove only that layer and not any of the white pith underneath.

Unless they’re using a lemon sliced or halved as a garnish, restaurants usually zest whole lemons first and squeeze out the remaining juice, tossing out the leftover white pith. (Good to know: It’s pretty hard to zest a lemon when it is already halved.)

Lemon juice and zest can be frozen… but I’ll explain that (and how to zest) in the next Extra Helpings post.

Here are a few more lemon tips:

• Wrap uncut zested lemons in plastic wrap and refrigerate. They’ll keep for about a week.

• To get the most juice out of a lemon (zested or unzested), bring it to room temperature and roll it under your palm to soften the fruit and get the juices moving.

• If you don’t have citrus juicer or reamer, cut the lemon in half and twist the tines of a fork into the lemon.

Bonus Bonanza: Besides being a flavor enhancer, lemon juice added to water can be an appetite suppresser. Plus, lemons are  loaded with vitamin C, the antioxidant that helps fight heart disease, cancer and inflammation.

So grab a lemon… and start squeezing… not freezing!


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com