Lemons are a fruit that we use very often for our savory recipes and for many desserts. This is why we always have them in the kitchen. However, since they are citrus full of water, if they are not used within a week or two, lemons very often tend to dry out; the juice drains out and the zest becomes opaque. So let’s see how to preserve fresh and fragrant lemons.

Lemons are a fruit that we use very often for our savory recipes and for many desserts. This is why we always have them in the kitchen. However since they are citrus full of water, if they are not used within a week or two, lemons very often tend to dry out; the juice drains out and the zest becomes opaque.

Although they are very acidic, lemons go bad exactly like other fruits and it is not uncommon to find them moldy on the surface, even if we keep them in the refrigerator. In short, keeping lemons fresh all year round seems like a challenge. In reality it is not, just put into practice some simple precautions to preserve lemons.

How to preserve lemons in the refrigerator

Keeping lemons in the refrigerator is the best way to keep them fresh. In fact, at room temperature, especially in summer, these citrus fruits tend to go bad much faster. Normally, far from light and heat sources, lemons last about 7-8 days.

The advice is not to cut them, if you do not intend to squeeze them immediately. Keep them whole in the refrigerator, especially if it is very hot. Close them in plastic bags for food and put them in the middle shelf of the refrigerator, taking care not to crush them too much.

If, on the other hand, you have already cut the lemon in half, it is better to wrap the lemon half in plastic wrap before putting them in the refrigerator. In this way they will not lose water and they will last about 3 days.

Freezing whole or half lemons is not recommended. Rather, if you want to keep the lemon in the freezer longer avoiding waste, cut it into slices on a tray covered with baking paper. Space them apart and freeze them like this. After a few hours you can put them all in a plastic bag and defrost them if necessary for sweets and drinks.

How to preserve lemon zest

Lemon zest can also be reused for many preparations. It is generally grated to add a fresh and fragrant note to the recipe.

For this reason, even if a lemon has dried inside and the pulp is now dry, you can always preserve the lemon zest, in order to have it available in the pantry. You only need two hermetic glass jars: one bigger and one smaller (about 500ml).

First wash the lemons well under running water and dry them. Cut them into four wedges with a sharp knife, but without detaching them completely.

Take a glass jar with the sterilized hermetic seal (you can do it in the dishwasher, or in a pot of boiling water) with a capacity of 500ml. Pour a few tablespoons of coarse salt into the jar and roll the lemons in the salt.

Put them in the glass jar by pressing them well, then cover with other coarse salt. Close the airtight glass jar and keep it in a cool dark place, they will have to stay there for about a week or 10 days.

At that point, empty the glass jar, remove all the salt and dab the lemon wedges with paper towels. At this point you can separate them. Pour them into the smallest glass jar, fill it with olive oil and keep in the pantry for 12 hours. The next day you can put the glass jar in the freezer; the lemon zest in oil can be preserved for a long time.

How to preserve lemon juice

Preserving only lemon juice is also possible. A fresh-squeezed lemon lasts in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 days, without losing its characteristics.

Alternatively, you can also freeze the juice; squeeze it into a plastic container, or into an ice cube mold and keep it in the freezer. Defrost the juice if necessary, for a lemonade, or as a single portion to add to your recipes.