Fresh Citrus Juice without the Hassle

limeblossomThose of us who live in the Sun Belt always mourn the waste of the tons of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits that fall off our trees and rot before anyone can use them. Well, I just discovered something that will save those wonderful, juicy lemons and limes for future use — without the PITA of standing in the kitchen for an hour or more squeezing citrus.

The secret? The freezer. You can freeze a lemon or a lime whole, as long as you don’t slice it open first and you don’t let it stand until it starts to dry up. Just toss the fruit into the freezer, let it freeze solid, and leave it there until you’re ready to use it.

When you need some lemon or lime juice to make a salad dressing, a marinade, a fancy cocktail, or just to squeeze over a piece of grilled fish or some corn on the cob, take out a frozen fruit and gently defrost it in the microwave (two minutes on low did the trick here), and squeeze away.

Freezing a lime seems to liberate the juice. My Key limes came out of the freezer even juicier than the were fresh off the tree — and that is very juicy, indeed.

You need to use the defrosted lime quickly. If you leave it standing for a few hours, it’s apt to turn to mush. And the sliced fruit probably wouldn’t work for a cocktail garnish, because freezing does change its character slightly.

I don’t know if it will work with an orange or grapefruit: my oranges aren’t ripe yet. But nothing ventured: try it out.

If you enjoy cooking with fresh lemon or lime juice year-round and you hate seeing your fruit go to waste, this trick is the business.

Image: By Prosthetic Head –, CC BY-SA 3.0,