Sunday, May 9, 2010

Recycle Your Lemons

 First off, if you don't have one of these Microplane Zesters, you're working too hard for your zest.  My daughter bought me mine.  Looove it!

Now that you have made your strawberry lemonade, I hope you didn't just throw out the lemons.  Use the zest for all kinds of things.  For example, my DH is in charge of green beans for a church dinner for 175 people, this coming Saturday.  Big deal you say, what's so difficult about green beans?  Well, this has become a project to attain the exact timing to a great green bean.  Let me explain.  The recipe is simple.  Cooked fresh green beans tossed with a bit of olive oil, lemon zest and garlic salt.  I like my green beans lightly steamed and crunchy.  DH said that wouldn't fly with other people, that they would actually want them cooked. Who knew?  Anyway, this week we weighed  out the perfect amount of beans per serving and tried steaming them.  I liked two minutes steamed, quickly sauteed in oil, then tossed with the garlic salt and lemon zest.  DH liked three minutes.  We sampled and decided that boiling them would be faster and they could be batched out without compromising the quality.  We timed two or three batches and decided on 2 minutes, 30 seconds boiled, quick saute and toss.  We were eating a lot of green beans...Wait, I know I was telling you this for a reason...oh yes, the zest. 

The zest from lemons can be done ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.  It can also be frozen or dried for use on the fly.  The rest of the lemon is great to throw in the disposal to clean and give the kitchen a fresh smell.  Be sure to use lots of water when grinding them. 

I was just talking to my daughter who told me a trick they use in her shop.  If a recipe calls for sugar and zest, they take the two and almost knead them together.  It releases that great lemon oil and infuses the sugar with the flavor.

I'm sure everyone knows to roll your lemons on the counter before juicing to release more juice.  You can also microwave lemons for a few seconds to produce the same results. (Quicker with large amounts of lemons.)

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