The Very First Thing You Should Do with a Lemon Half Before You Juice It

updated Apr 10, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

When I’m in the groove, there are a bunch of little kitchen tasks I do that make me feel like I’m operating at peak productivity. The tasks range from making sure all the dishes are clean by the time I’m finished cooking — clean as you go, right? — to this little tip about prepping lemons. It’s especially great for right now as we’re all trying to use up everything we have on hand and waste as little as possible.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Zest Your Citrus and Freeze It for the Future

Before I juice a lemon or a lime — and especially before I juice a Meyer Lemon — I always zest it. I run a microplane over half the fruit and add that big pile of fluffy zest (avoid the bitter pith) to the zip-top bag I keep in the freezer. Sometimes, I’ll even peel the lemon and toss that in the bag too.

This practice makes me feel less wasteful about the whole fruit, and I’m always really happy to have the zest in the freezer when a recipe calls for some (or if I just need something to wake up a ho-hum recipe). I pop the bag out of the freezer and take however much I need — no fresh lemon required.

The zest lasts in the freezer for up to three months, so you’ve got time to both use it up and add to it. At the rate I go through lemons in my kitchen, I end up with a big bag of zest in my freezer that finds its way into baked goods, pastas, and salads.

Have you tried this? What other smart prep tasks do you do in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments!