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What to do with Lemons (Zesting, Juicing, Freezing)

What to do with a lot of Lemons? Whether you have a bag or a tree full of lemons, here is how to preserve and use them. No more wasted lemons! These brilliant ways to use up lemons will surprise you.

We love fresh lemon juice in homemade Lemonade and the brilliant sauce in Shrimp Scampi Pasta. Lemons are wonderfully useful and so good for you!

Lemons read for preserving

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What to Do with Lemons:

So often, I find myself with a bag of lemons when my recipe called for a single lemon. Is anyone else frustrated that a single lemon can cost $1 while an entire bag of lemons is $3? Most times I just needed 1 lemon and it’s sad to see perfectly good lemons shrivel up and die on the counter.

My Mother-in-law sent us a ton a lemons from their tree. Read on to learn how we made the most out of every single lemon.

These ideas will save you both time and money, and your kitchen will smell amazing. Let me know which idea surprised you most.

Rinsing lemons for using lemons

Are Lemons Healthy?

The health benefits of lemons are impressive, particularly in the lemon peel and lemon juice.

Lemon peel is one of the most beneficial parts of lemons because it has lemon oil. It helps with digesting fats and cleansing your lymphatic system (for when you’re sick with a cold or flu). It also has immune boosting properties and D-limonene which can help to fight cancer.

Lemon juice is one of the best sources of vitamin C which will helps boost your immune system. If you feel a cold coming on, start increasing your lemon juice intake. Lemon juice also helps reduce inflammation and that sour flavor can help detox your liver to cleans your body. Nutrition Source: Dr. Axe.

Freezing Lemon Slices:

Rinse, pat dry and slice your lemons. Arrange them on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen solid, transfer the slices to a freezer safe bag and freeze up to 3 months (longer in a deep freezer). Frozen lemon slices can be used in summer and winter drinks. You can also preserve lemon slices in sugar but frozen will last longer.

Frozen lemon slices

Freezing Lemon Zest:

Before juicing your lemons, you should zest them. Be sure to remove only the Zest (yellow outer skin) and not the bitter white pith underneath. The lemon peel/zest is so healthy and freezes beautifully. Zest the lemon then transfer to a freezer safe container or a mason jar with lid (loosely packed), then scoop it out and use in any recipe that calls for lemon zest.

Keeping the lemon zest makes it worthwhile to buy organic lemons. If you have non-organic or waxed lemons (although the wax is considered safe for consumption), you may want to de-wax your lemons first.

Lemon zest in jar for freezer

Fresh Lemon Juice:

Fresh squeezed lemon juice will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks before it loses its vibrance and freshness. Keep it in a glass mason jar and use in salsas, drinks or any recipe that calls for lemon juice. It also makes the best Lemonade you’ll ever try! Here is our favorite lemon juicer.

Fresh Lemon juice in jar

How Much Juice in One Lemon?

The amount of juice in a lemon depends on the size of the lemon. A large lemon will yield about 3 Tbsp of juice while a medium sized lemon will yield 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

Juice squeezed from lemons

Lemon Ice Cubes:Β 

Lemon juice can be frozen for 3 months or even longer in a deep freezer. We love this spill proof ice cube tray from OXO. The ice cubes release easily when you push down on one side. Transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer safe ziploc bag and store in the freezer. Add frozen lemon juice cubes to:

  • Lemonade (since regular ice cubes can dilute the flavor)
  • Your morning lemon water (see below)
  • Any recipe that calls for lemon juice (just thaw and use)

making lemon ice cubes

Is Lemon Water Good For You?

Lemon water and flavored water is one of the latest health crazes and it’s a good thing! People start their day with lemon water to hydrate, feel good, get a healthy dose of vitamin C and promote digestive health. Lemon water is just 8 oz of filtered water with 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon. You can also use a frozen lemon ice cubes and put that in a glass of water to save time.

Uses for Leftover Lemon Peels:

Once your lemons are zested and squeezed, you can still use the leftover lemon rind/peels:

  • Freshening up the Sink Disposal: throw in 2-4 at a time and run your garbage disposal with the water on until they clear.
  • Clean your Microwave: Place 4-5 squeezed lemon peels into a large measuring cup or bowl. Add 1 cup water and heat in the microwave 5 minutes. As soon as it’s done, remove the bowl and wipe down the interior of the microwave with a paper towel.
  • Refrigerate Un-Used Peels: place in a ziploc bag for up to 2 weeks and use them to clean the microwave and disposal as needed.

Cleaning microwave with leftover lemon peels

Lemon Recipes for Lemon Lovers:

Lemon is an essential ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. Whenever a recipe calls for lemon juice, always use real lemon juice squeezed from a lemon (not from concentrate) for best results, especially when it is a critical ingredient.

What to do with Lemons (Zesting, Juicing, Freezing)

5 from 11 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Never let your lemons go to waste again! Save time and money by zesting, freezing and juicing your lemons.

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: Varies by Season
Keyword: lemons
Calories: 16 kcal
Servings: 20 people (makes 2 cups lemon juice and 10 Tbsp zest)

Ingredients

  • 10 large lemons

Instructions

Freezing Lemon Slices:

  1. If you wish to freeze lemon slices: rinse, pat dry and slice whole lemons into rings. Arrange them on a parchment or plastic wrap-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the slices to a freezer safe bag and freeze up to 3 months.

Freezing Lemon Zest:

  1. Before juicing remaining lemons, zest them. Be sure to remove only Zest (yellow outer skin) and not the bitter white pith beneath. Transfer zest to a freezer safe container or a mason jar with lid (loosely packed). Scoop it out and use in any recipe that calls for lemon zest.

To Make Lemon Juice:

  1. Cut zested lemons in half and use a lemon juicer to squeeze out the juice. Store fresh juice in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

To Freeze Lemon Juice:

  1. Pour lemon juice into an ice tray and freeze. Once frozen, ice cubes can be transferred to freezer safe ziploc bag and stored in the freezer up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
What to do with Lemons (Zesting, Juicing, Freezing)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 16 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 75mg2%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 10IU0%
Vitamin C 28.6mg35%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Bev
    August 20, 2019

    I like the ideas you share, a great job and I thank you for that. Now, I can make to preserve all my lemons. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 20, 2019

      I’m so glad that was helpful! Thank you for sharing that with me. Reply

  • debbie hadaway-bohl
    August 6, 2019

    I have been drinking lemon water for a few years now, especially when going out to eat. Instead of ordering a soda I ask for ice water and sliced lemons and just squeeze them into the water ! Sometimes I add a sweetner to it as well. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 7, 2019

      That’s so great! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. Reply

  • Ruth-Ann
    July 16, 2019

    Great ideas! I just zested 7 lemons to freeze for when it’s cool enough to do some baking. I wondered if I could do the same with the juice and here I am – on your site! Can the frozen juice be thawed and used in cakes and other baking or will it have lost flavour by then? Thanks! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 16, 2019

      I don’t see why not! Sounds like a grat experiment for next time! Reply

  • Anka
    June 28, 2019

    Thanks for the tips, usually I clean my microwave with a lemon. Never though that I can freeze lemon cubes or lemon juice. Thanks for an idea Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 28, 2019

      You’re so welcome Anka!! Reply

  • Jan
    June 20, 2019

    I put half a lemon in my kettle,bring to the boil,let stand for thirty mins. Empty, add clean water and bring to the boil again. Dispose of water. Gets rid of limescale without using chemicals. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me Jan! Reply

  • John Espinosa
    June 20, 2019

    An easy way to clean your grill, use a half of a lemon to “scrub’ the grill. You could use squeezed lemons or a thick rind. Its better than using aluminum foil or a metal brush and possibly leaving metal particles on your grill. Any residual juice or lemon particles gets burned off. Some folks use potatoes to do this as well. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me. Reply

  • Lesia
    June 20, 2019

    Another thing to do with lemons is slice them up and layer with honey. The lemon dissolves the honey and you have a syrup for tea! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2019

      That’s a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Lesia! Reply

  • alexia
    June 20, 2019

    hi. i was wondering the recipe for lemon water? is it better drinking it cold or warm with the lemon juice? i read somewhere drinking it warm before you eat is the best way. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2019

      I also heard its best warm for digestion but in the summer we like to drink it cool. Reply

  • Nancy
    June 19, 2019

    If you can’t get organic lemons what is the best and safest way to clean lemons? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2019

      Hi Nancy! We would pour freshly boiled water over them to melt away the wax and then use a vegetable brush to gently scrub the outer peel of each lemon while rinsing with cold water to cool off the lemon. I hope that helps! Reply

  • June 19, 2019

    Love, Love, Love all your ideas! Thanks so much! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed our recipes! Reply

  • Sharon Daly
    June 19, 2019

    Same sentiments with regard to the price. I have been doing these for years. I also do the same with limes and oranges. Also I mix the three together to change up the taste.
    Very refreshing! Thank you Natasha!!! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me Sharon! Reply

  • Linda Fisk
    June 19, 2019

    Great ideas! Sometimes I buy lemons for a recipe, but never get around to making it and my lemons go bad. Thanks for the great post! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      That is exactly what happens here! I’m so happy you found this helpful! Reply

  • Olga
    June 19, 2019

    Great ideas. I just did the lemon in the disposal trick yesterday. No more stinky kitchen sink. πŸ˜‰ Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      Isn’t that the best, Olga! Reply

  • Suzy
    June 19, 2019

    I want to go and zest all of my lemons right now! Thanks for the tips! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      You’re so welcome, Suzy! Thank you for sharing that awesome review with us! Reply

  • Billy
    June 19, 2019

    Amazing ideas that work out perfectly! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 19, 2019

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that Billy! Reply

  • Jessica
    June 18, 2019

    This post was so informative! Thank you so much! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 18, 2019

      You’re so welcome! I hope you try some of these tricks soon! Reply

  • Ashley F
    June 18, 2019

    This is awesome! Love all of the ideas! Going to try and clean my microwave now! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 18, 2019

      Thank you Ashley! I happy this was helpful! Reply

  • June 18, 2019

    I am seriously loving all these ideas! The ice cubes are right up my alley; I love lemon in my water and this would be perfect! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 18, 2019

      It is so refreshing Sara! Reply

  • Jenny
    June 18, 2019

    Wow, I love this so much! Especially the part about using the already squeezed lemons to clean! No waste. Thanks so much for sharing this  Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 18, 2019

      I’m so happy you found this helpful jenny! Thank you for sharing that awesome review! Reply

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