Warm up and juice on a cold morning
AS THE weather turns downright shivery, I’ve been happy for tasks that keep me indoors, and out of the wind.
Our kitchen sink is my favourite place this time of year, a glowing place of warmth and sunshine that wards off the chill and makes even the most tedious chores rather special.
I like to make projects as enjoyable as possible, so when it was time to process mountains of citrus fruit, I brewed hot chocolate, set up the CD player with an audio book, and went to work.
Our citrus trees are still too young to be producing much of a harvest, but my friends have lavished us with their surplus bounty this autumn, and our kitchen table has been dotted with bowls overflowing with lemons and limes.
I use lemon and lime juice and zest all year round, but hate paying exorbitant prices for the fruit during the off season.
So it’s well worth it to me to spend a few hours zesting and juicing to keep us well stocked throughout the year.
I always zest first, since the fruit is too slippery and unmanageable once it’s been juiced. The great thing about frozen zest is that you can freeze it in blocks since it’s easy to scrape off a teaspoon or two as needed.
I add zest to salad dressings, marinades, curries, soups, all sorts of baking, and to the batches of lime beer and lemon beer I make every few months.
If I have time, I freeze the juice in ice cube trays which makes for easy thawing down the road.
Most recipes only call for 1-2 tablespoons of juice, so the ice cube size makes it perfect. If I don’t have time, I pour the lot into bottles and freeze them solid.
Down the road I just thaw a bottle, then store it in the fridge and use as needed.
In the past I’ve just thrown away the leftover citrus peels knowing they don’t work in compost piles.
But a couple of weeks ago my friend Avis told me that she feeds hers to their sheep and the sheep love them!
Determined to see if our goats would fancy them too, I tossed a whole pile into their pen and was delighted to see them gobbled up with enthusiasm.