The refreshing citrus sour taste lemons provide to beverages and food dishes makes people want to learn the secret to preserving their delightful flavor and bright yellow color. That secret is simple and it is by freezing lemons handpicked right from citrus trees during harvesting season. However, not everyone gets the privilege of handpicking his or her own citrus fruits from beautiful citrus trees. Thankfully, store bought lemons can be preserved too with the freezing method. We will discuss those methods right here.

Freezing Freshly Picked Lemons from Citrus Trees

Lemons freshly picked from lemon trees need a good washing and drying with a paper towel to remove any dirt, animal droppings, pesticides, and other debris from them before the freezing process. After, you can actually take whole lemons, place them into freeze bags and freeze them as they are. Anytime you want a fresh lemon, you simply take one out of the freezer bag, place it into a bowl of cool water and allow it to defrost for about an hour or two. Then, roll the lemon around on the countertop to get the juices flowing, slice it half or into slices and use it to flavor whatever it is you want lemony flavor in. You can also take a lemon zest tool and zest the skin of the lemon into all kinds of dishes to add a tangy lemon flavor and a bit of bright color. Freezing lemons straight from a lemon tree will stay preserved in flavor for up to 6 months. Freezing fresh lemons longer than that can change the texture of the skins and flavor of the lemons to a bitterer tasting one instead of the sour sweet tart flavor they tend to have.

Halved lemons

Image used under Creative Commons from jh_tan84

Another way you can freeze freshly harvest lemons is by slicing them up into slices in either a round shape or half moon shape, toss the slices into freezer containers or zip lock bags, and place them into the freezer this way. Freshly frozen lemon slices are perfectly to grab from the freezer and toss into ice-cold water beverages, herbal teas to add a pleasant citrus flavor or directly on top of fish dishes to add some lemony flavor. Lemon slices however, are best if you use them up within the first three months because the texture of the skin and flesh along with the flavor do change drastically.

Freezing Store Bought Lemons

When it comes to freezing store bought lemons you can freeze and preserve them the same way you would freshly picked, but again you will want to wash them well. However, store bought lemons from the store only stay fresh in true lemony flavor for half the amount of time freshly picked lemons tend too. Therefore, this means whole lemons frozen need to be used up within 3 months and slices of frozen lemons should be used up within a month in order for them to retain their true lemon flavor and texture.

Is freezing lemons really necessary?

If you want to get a long shelf life out of lemons freezing them to help preserve them is a great method too use, but it’s not always necessary to freeze lemons. In fact, lemons will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a month before spoiling. On the countertop in a fruit basket, lemons stay fresh for about two weeks before hardenings and spoiling. If you want a truly refreshing lemony flavor and bright color to add to beverages or food dishes it is always best to use lemons as they are and not after the freezing process. After all, freshly squeezed lemons are always best.

This is especially true when making lemonade. It is never wise to make lemonade from frozen lemons because the flavor will never truly be the same as freshly squeezed juice from hand picked lemons. You can, take lemon slices you have frozen and toss them into a fresh batch of freshly squeezed lemonade to help chill it down faster instead of using all ice cubes. This in fact, will provide your lemonade a stronger lemon flavor instead of water down one, which tends to happen with the use of ice cubes.