You have a recipe that calls for 2 tbsp of lemon juice… but your lemon is the size of a baseball, and produces a huge amount of juice when you squeeze it (true story! See the Epic Lemon here!)
So what do you do with all that extra juice? Freeze it! But not all in one big piece…
What you’ll need:
- Ice cube tray(s)
- Jug/bowl with a pouring spout
- Freezer with a flat area to put the ice cube tray
- 1/2 tbsp measure (or 1 tbsp, depending on the size of the holes on your tray)
- Juice your lemon, however you like. Transfer the juice into the jug.
- This step is not mandatory. Measuring the ice cubes is good for if you are going to be using them later in recipes that call for specific amounts, but you don’t have to do it.
Determine whether the holes in your ice cube tray are 1/2 tbsp or 1 tbsp size. The easy way to do this is to use the 1 tbsp measure and a bit of water. Remember that liquids expand slightly when frozen – make sure the liquid doesn’t completely fill the hole. My ice cube trays have small holes, so I used the 1/2 tbsp measure.
- Measure out the juice, pouring 1 portion into each ice cube hole.
- Put ice cube trays into the freezer overnight to set.
- Next day, pop out the lemon cubes and put them into a ziploc bag or other container, and put back in the freezer. This way, you can re-use the ice cube tray for other things straight away.
There are multiple things you can use this for, but here are some of my favourites:
- Frozen Herbs
Shred herbs, then put 1 tsp into each hole of the ice cube tray. Top up with oil of your choice, then freeze. Herbs will only be good for cooking (not garnishing, obviously), but they’re a nice alternative if you don’t like using dried herbs, or have an over-abundance of fresh herbs you don’t want to waste. Some herbs don’t freeze very well this way, but I haven’t personally come across any problems with any of the ones I’ve done yet.
Rather than using an ice cube tray for this, you’ll be using a muffin pan. Portion out soup into the muffin pan, then freeze. Check what size the holes are (I think a standard 12-hole pan usually has 1/3 cup holes) and make a note on the container/bag the soup cubes end up in. This is a really easy way to portion out frozen soup without taking up heaps of room in the freezer with single-serve containers of soup. The soup cubes also defrost quicker (because science). Soups that don’t have huge bits of stuff in them work best for this (I’ve done it with pumpkin soup, minestrone soup, and chicken noodle).
- Tomato paste/any sauces
Use it to store tomato paste or any leftover sauce that you’re worried might go yucky before you use it again. Depending on what sort of sauce it is, use discretion as to whether an ice cube tray or muffin pan would be best. Some sauces will separate when you defrost them, but most will recombine with a bit of vigorous stirring. Experimentation is the key here – and if it doesn’t work out, just write it off as learning experience and move on 🙂
As always, make sure that everything is properly cooked through, and don’t keep things overly long in the freezer. Date everything you freeze, and if it’s been there longer than about 6 months, you probably want to think about chucking it out (particularly if it contains meat).
Citrus rind also freezes well – grate it, put it into a freezer bag and blow some air into the bag like a balloon before you seal it. After freezing the rind overnight, give the bag a decent shake to break up the rind, then let the air out and put it back in the freezer.