Lemons are an essential fruit in almost all kitchens. They give us this desired sour taste that we all enjoy and love in our meals and drinks. Sadly, though, lemons do not have a long lifespan, so they often go bad when left at room temperature for several days.
However, you can always choose to freeze them to extend their lifespan and take them out of your freezer as needed. You can even freeze whole lemons, although this might not be the best method to freeze them.
In this article, I’m breaking down everything you need to know about freezing and thawing whole lemons, freezing lemon slices, lemon juice, and even lemon zest!
How to Freeze Whole Lemons
First, the lemons should be placed in a zip-top bag to properly protect them in the freezer.
Then you want to squeeze all the extra air out of the zip lock bag before sealing it. This way, you’re actually maintaining the freshness of your lemons in the freezer.
They will also take up less room in your freezer since there’s less air in the bag. After there is no more air inside, the lemons are good to go, and you can proceed to the freezing step.
What you have to do next is simply place the bag in your freezer and leave them there until they freeze completely. In the freezer, whole lemons will remain fresh for up to 4 months.
How to Thaw Whole Frozen Lemons
Since they get mushy when thawing them, it is never a good idea to thaw lemons if you’re freezing them whole.
Instead, it is better to take them out of the freezer and use them directly to make a whole lemon lemonade or just use them in any recipe that does not require thawing them.
You can also zest them and use the zest to make a lemon pie or any other recipe. Since they will be ice cold, zesting frozen lemons is a great way to preserve the natural oils during the process.
If you still insist on thawing your whole lemons, submerging them in cold water until they’re ready to use is the best method.
How to Freeze Lemon Slices
While you can freeze whole lemons, they’re difficult to deal with when you’re thawing them and not very practical.
So freezing lemon slices is a better way to avoid the problem of mushy whole lemons after thawing them, and they can be an appetizing decoration to add to your dish or fresh juices.
To freeze lemon slices, start by cutting them into slices or wedges. Slice them by making a 1/4-inch wide cut across them. Cut them in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise to create these beautiful slices. 4 lemon slices of the same size will result from this process.
Now it’s time to place the wedges on a baking sheet, making sure to leave some room between each of them to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Skipping this important step might cause the slices to stick together and form a hard block of lemon. You want the lemons to stay in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours before taking them out for the final freezing process.
You will be able to tell if they’re fully frozen by using the squeezing test. If you can’t squeeze the slices and produce juice, then they are well frozen, and you can move on to the next step.
Now put the lemons slices in a zip-top bag (again making sure to push out the excess air) and place the bag in the freezer. Your frozen lemons are ready to use at any time you want, easy peasy lemon squeezy!
How to Freeze Lemon Juice
You heard it right, freezing lemon juice! While it might sound strange, freezing lemon juice can save you more time than you think.
Each time you need lemon juice, you can quickly take some out of your freezer and put it into your recipe.
The first step to freezing lemon juice is to juice the lemons. To do that, you can either use a kitchen juicer or citrus reamer that you can get at most department stores. No juicer or reamer available? No worries, cut the lemon into 2 or 4 sections and use your hands to extract the juice.
You can even use a fork to help you get out all of the juice while squeezing. You don’t want any seeds in the lemon juice, so be careful about these little seeds that can slide into the juice while juicing the lemons.
Before placing the juice into your freezer, it is always a great idea to measure it so you know exactly the amount of lemon juice you’re using.
The next step is to get an ice cube tray and start pouring the measured juice into each cube. From here, freeze the juice until frozen solid, then pop out the lemon juice ice cubes and store them in a freezer-safe bag.
This way, it will be easy for you to take out cubes whenever you need them for a recipe.
How to Freeze Lemon Zest
Did you know that you can also freeze lemon zest? The natural oils found in lemons are present in the zest (the skin of the lemon), which can be a delicious addition to many recipes like lemon pie.
As mentioned before, you can freeze whole lemons and zest them, but if you only want to use the zest, there’s no need to store the whole lemons and take up that much space in your freezer.
The first step to freezing lemon zest is to zest the lemons using a zester or a grater. Just like lemon slices, the zest should be put in a zip-top bag with as much air removed as possible. After that, place the bag in your freezer and take it out any time you need lemon zest.
- Pro tip: Do not throw out the remaining lemons. Instead, make use of them by blending the juice with mint, sugar, and ice cubes to make a fresh lemon mint lemonade.
Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge to freeze lemons, go ahead and make all types of lemon treats—lemon cookies, lemon pies, lemon muffins – as long as you’ve got some frozen lemon in your freezer, the sky’s the limit!
Can You Freeze Whole Lemons – Conclusion
You absolutely can freeze whole lemons. Freezing whole lemons is about as easy as it gets. Just bag them and put them in the freezer.
However, depending on your end use, freezing whole lemons may mean more work for you later. In this case, it may be better to freeze lemon slices, lemon juice, or even lemon zest.