If You Buy One Thing in Bulk This Month, Let It Be This
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Buying fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk is a calculated risk. You can find some great deals by shopping this way, but can you really be sure you’ll get through the bunch before things start to take a turn for the worse?
A few months ago, I took the risk and bought Costco’s 10-pound bag of jumbo yellow onions. At first I thought we’d never get through them, but I quickly made peace with the decision when I discovered the beauty of chopping and freezing them in advance. And this spring, I fell in love with another Costco bulk produce purchase. I’ve used the stuff to make marinades, salad dressings, and even kitchen cleaning solutions! What am I talking about? If there is one item you should absolutely buy in bulk this month, let it be a five-pound bag of Costco lemons ($5.69).
Why Lemons Are the One Thing You Should Buy in Bulk This Month
Throughout my cooking journey, I’ve learned that there are very few dishes not improved by a squeeze of lemon. It’s important to note that a balance of acid is one of the major tenants of good cooking — for proof of that look no further than Samin Nosrat’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I love adding sunny citrus flavor to grill-friendly marinades with juiced and sliced lemon, herbs, and olive oil. While I’m standing by the coals, I choose to cool off with an icy glass of lemonade (using the best technique, of course)! When I’m not using them for beverages or savory applications, I love to use the rest of my lemons to make bright and tangy desserts, such as lemon bars and mile-high lemon meringue pie. I’d also be remiss not to mention that lemon zest is my equivalent of gold fairy dust when used in nearly every application.
As if there weren’t enough reasons to love lemons, add this to your list: You can also clean with them. Forgo store-bought cleaners that boast a “lemon fresh scent” in favor of the real thing! It’s not magic that gives lemons their impressive cleaning power — it’s citric acid, which creates an unfriendly environment for familiar kitchen bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Lemons also can neutralize offensive odors, leaving a naturally fresh citrus sent lingering in the air. Try using lemons to clean butcher block stains, remove rust spots, dust, and make DIY drain cleaners.
Learn more: What Makes Lemons Such Good Cleaners?
How to Freeze Lemons for Later
If you’re still left with a few lemons after cooking and cleaning, they won’t go to waste! While lemons do last for up to a few weeks in the fridge, the freezer is your friend for extending this citrusy bulk buy. The first step to expertly freezing your leftover lemons is to be sure to zest them first. A rasp grater, like a Microplane, has small, sharp blades that make it easy to remove the fragrant golden peel, while leaving the bitter white pith behind. Spread the zest on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze, then transfer to an airtight container for future use. Then juice the zested bodies and freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays, about 1 tablespoon per portion. This way, you can use the juice in a recipe (much) later!
What’s your favorite lemon recipe? How do lemons help you tackle your toughest cleaning tasks? Tell us in the comments.