9/20/17

When life gives you lemons ...

 
cute girl hamming it up while picking lemonsNo lemonade advice here... WAY too much sugar.
 
Make lemon cubes instead!  
 
Lemon cubes offer all the health-promoting goodness of lemons, without sugar or other additives, in convenient ice cubes that you can grab on the go. 
 
Why include lemons in your diet? 
 
  • Lemons contain health-promoting vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. 
  • Lemons aid in digestion and protect against certain kinds of kidney stones (calcium stones).
  • Lemons offer a refreshing taste and aroma to drinks and dishes, providing great flavor without the use of sugar or salt.  
Want to enjoy the benefits of lemons without having to repeatedly zest, cut, and squeeze them? Or do you have some extra lemons on hand that need to be used? 
Lemon cubes are your answer!
 
I'm all about batch prepping and cooking. If I can get the mess out once and reap the benefits multiple times, I'm all in. 
 
lemons with zest removedThis is how I batch lemons:
 

Step 1. Zest

 
After washing the lemons, use a zester to remove the outer, colorful, oily rind.
 
This step is important. The zest adds much more citrus flavor than the juice alone.  
 
Don't have a zester? A fine cheese grater works, too.
 

Step 2. Squeeze

 
After zesting, cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a container, preferably one with a spout for easy pouring.  
 
There are all kinds of juicing gadgets out there. I use this simple wooden reamer. It helps to retrieve a lot more juice than squeezing alone. 
 

Step 3. Freeze

 
lemon zest with reamer tool and ice cube trayFill ice cube trays halfway full with lemon zest, then cover with lemon juice. Stick them in the freezer, and you're all set! Once frozen, they're ready to use in drinks and other recipes that call for lemon. 
 
Note: Due to the natural oil in the zest, the cubes will have a sticky coating on the outside that doesn't completely freeze. This is normal (and delicious!).   
 

Ways to enjoy lemon cubes

 
Perhaps the easiest way to enjoy them is to add a lemon cube to a large container of ice water. This enhances the water with a crisp citrus taste and scent.  
I also like to use lemon cubes in smoothies because lemons are a nice complement to other fruits, such as:
 
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
I buy these fruits in the frozen section of the grocery store (super convenient). 
Add some greens, such as spinach or cucumber (which can also be frozen), and some water, and you have a refreshing smoothie that is:
 
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Packed with nutrient-dense super foods
  • Delicious!
No need to stop with lemons.
 
You can apply the same technique to other citrus fruits, such as limes, oranges and grapefruit. It's a nice way to preserve these fruits longer and (conveniently) enjoy their fresh taste later on. 
 
Kiley Owen is a physician assistant, blogger and preventive health enthusiast. This post — along with helpful links to other resources — originally appeared on her blog, makinghealthapriority.com.