The Kitchn featured a post on how to keep lemons from drying out before you can use them. Their solution? Sealed in a ziplock bag in the fridge. But there were so many interesting notes in the comments, I’ve edited and compiled the best tips to make lemons last longer here.
- I have another solution which works for me when I’m not too lazy: when I have several lemons, I zest them all in one go and keep it in a plastic container the freezer. I also freeze the juice in ice cube trays. That way I always have lemon juice and zest on hand.
- I keep all citrus in my crisper drawer (humidity set to low).
- For lemons I want to keep whole, for an extended period, I dip into very hot water (120 to 125F) to kill any surface mold. I then put them in a bowl of fresh water, submerged completely by using a plate and other weight, in the fridge. Changing the water daily or every other day seems to be enough. I can keep fresh lemons in the fridge for up to two months.
- I had a problem with moisture accumulating in the sealed bag, but solved that with a tip I read on another site: chill the lemons first in the fridge, then put them in a sealed plastic bag. Nowhere near the moisture you’d get putting them in the plastic bag at room temperature. Dunno why, but it makes all the difference!
- I have discovered by accident that, since I’ve put lemons into an apothocary type jar (not tight fitting lid) on the counter out of direct sunlight, the lemons have stayed for months.
- Lemons that have become hard while sitting in the fridge can be brought back to life by a day of soaking in cold water.
- I wipe them clean to remove any wax or dark spots, and then freeze them whole in a bag. When I need the zest (yellow part of rind) I just pull one out of the freezer and scrape it directly into the recipe mixture. In this way, no pith (the bitter white part of rind) will find its way into the recipe. Another benefit that I found was that I don’t lose any lemon rind oils, which defrost straight into the recipe mix and not spray all over the kitchen counter. If I need to use the juice, I’ll let the lemons defrost for a couple of hours and them squeeze them. Unfortunately, once totally defrosted, the lemons will be squashy and not good for slicing and decoration.