ripe lemons

Every winter, we are the lucky recipients of a bounty of citrus from both family and neighbors.

lemon juice

My fruit bowls and pantry are full of blood oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.

Citrus generally ripens during the winter and the cold snap that we had last week had many people picking the citrus fruit from their trees so that the fruit wouldn’t be damaged by the frost.

The problem arises that either I have too many lemons in winter and none in the summer unless I want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on lemons.

So, what do you do?

Well, I juiced them a week ago and made “lemon ice-cubes.”

lemon juice

Then, I promptly forgot about them until I was searching in the freezer for the chicken to thaw out for dinner.

So, I took them out and put my lemon ice cubes into freezer bags.

lemon ice cubes

have three freezer bags full of lemon ice cubes, which will last me through the coming year.

What do I use them for?  Well, many of my favorite dinner recipes call for a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, and they are great for making ice tea.

You can also save the lemon zest, (just before you juice them), and freeze the zest too.

My kids love grapefruit (I don’t) and have been eating some for both breakfasts and a snack.  They have also been taking the blood oranges to school in their lunch boxes.

My friend, Becky, from Tucson, made ‘Orange Peel Vinegar’ which she uses as a cleaner with her extra oranges.

What do you do with an overabundance of citrus?

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
6 replies
  1. Deb
    Deb says:

    Yep, took my Meyer lemons off the tree (in Tucson), but I've got them in the frig. Guess I should so the lemon ice cubes! AND, I didn't know about freezing the zest. Thanks for the info…

  2. maccandace
    maccandace says:

    My husband makes a batch of lemoncello every couple of years from the zest. We have also done limecello and orangecello. They're all really good…time, sugar, vodka, and everclear.

  3. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Lucky you to have all that! We rarely have an over-abundance of citrus where we live due to the salt air but we do freeze our passion fruit pulp in ziplocs and use as needed for jugs of juice. We normally make fresh passion fruit or citrus juices and so never buy supermarket packs or bottles. This weekend we enjoyed fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

  4. divaskychick
    divaskychick says:

    I love reading your blog. I started in August, when my family first moved to a home here in Scottsdale after five years in a condo in Chicago. I'm dying to grow veggies!

    Can you point me to a resource to tell me what to plant and when in our unique little Zone 9a?

    Thanks so much and bless your lovely family!

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