Can You Freeze Lemons?

Lemons are very versatile. You can slice them up and add them to a gin and tonic. You can juice them into a lemon-flavored drink. They are a great addition to a cheesecake, or you can make lemon bars which are delicious with a cup of tea.

Lemons can be used to make a lemon butter sauce that you can pour over salmon or chicken. You can add lemon juice to pasta and dips. You can even stuff a lemon in a chicken or turkey to add flavor.

However, perhaps you have a lot of lemons and don’t feel that you can use them all before they start to deteriorate. What can you do? The answer is simple. You can freeze them, either whole or in slices. You can also freeze lemon zest and lemon juice (see also Can You Freeze Limoncello?). This article will tell you how to freeze lemons in different ways and how to defrost them.

How Do You Freeze Lemons?

This section will tell you about the different ways to freeze lemons (see also How To Freeze Lemon Tart).

1. Prepare the lemons

Give the lemons a quick scrub under cold water. You can now choose whether to freeze the lemons whole or to cut them into halves if you think you won’t be able to use a whole lemon. If you do half them, it is good to flash freeze them before bagging them up so that the halves don’t stick together.

2. Put the lemons in a freezer bag.

Make sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible out of the bag. If you don’t, freezer burn may occur. While the lemons will still be safe to consume, the taste, texture, and color may change, and the lemons won’t be as tasty.

3. Put the bags in the freezer. 

Don’t put too many lemons in the bag otherwise they will stick together.

If you freeze lemons in this way, they will only be good for using in juice (see also How To Freeze Lemon Drizzle Cake). The texture will change, and it will be difficult to slice them. You won’t be able to slice them up for use in a gin and tonic. This is because they can go mushy when defrosted. 

How To Freeze Lemon Slices

If you want to use lemon slices in cocktails, you will be pleased to know that you can freeze lemons in slices. If you follow our instructions, you should be able to take out just as many slices as you need. These are the instructions you should follow.

1. Slice the lemons.

You can slice the lemons in circles or half-moons. It all depends on how much lemon you like in your gin and tonic or cocktail. 

2. Flash freeze the lemon slices.

If you want to ensure that the lemon slices don’t stick together, flash freeze them. Put the slices on a baking tray, making sure that they don’t stick together, and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid.  This should take between three and four hours.

3. Put in a Freezer Bag.

The slices shouldn’t stick together as they have been frozen separately. Squeeze out all the air from the bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Don’t fill the bag as the slices may expand. Put a label on the bag with the date you put it in the freezer.

4. Put the freezer bag in the freezer.

How To Freeze Lemon Zest

It is so easy to freeze lemon zest and is a great idea. You can sprinkle it over oatmeal, yogurt, jelly, fruit, pancakes, and especially chicken.  All you have to do is grate it straight into a freezer bag to freeze it. Squeeze out as much air as possible so that you don’t get freezer burn which will ruin the taste of the lemon zest. When you need some lemon zest, open the bag and break off a clump. It should break off easily.

How To Freeze Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can be used to make a delicious drink to be enjoyed on a hot summer’s day. You can add it to chicken casserole or lemon cheesecake. In addition, you can make a lemon syrup to pour over a dessert or a lemon vinaigrette to pour over a salad.  These are the steps you need to take to freeze lemon juice.

1. Juice the lemons.

2. Pour the lemon juice into an ice cube tray.

You can buy ice cube trays with bigger slots than the traditional size so if you think you are going to need more juice invest in one of these. Make sure that you don’t fill the slots up to the top as the lemon juice can expand.

3. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer.

It’s a good idea to wrap the ice cube tray in a layer, or even two, of cling film. This helps to protect the lemon juice cubes from getting freezer burn.

4. Put the cubes in a freezer bag.

Put a label on the bag with the date you put it in the freezer so that you don’t keep it in the freezer for longer than you should.

When you need lemon juice, you should be able to take as many cubes as you need out of the bag. Because you froze them in the ice cube tray, they shouldn’t stick together. 

If you are using the lemon juice in a hot dish such as chicken casserole, you can just put the cubes straight into the dish. The cubes will dissolve in no time. If you want to use the cubes in a cold dish such as a salad dressing, put the cubes on the counter. They will be defrosted within an hour. This is completely safe as it takes two hours at room temperature for bacteria to start to form.

What Happens To Lemons When You Freeze Them?

If you freeze lemon zest or lemon juice, they retain their texture and taste particularly well. However, if you freeze whole lemons, the texture deteriorates, and you can get mushy lemons. You will only be able to use them for adding flavor to dishes. Sliced lemons freeze better especially if you flash freeze them and you should be able to use them in cocktails without adverse effects.

Tips For Freezing Lemons

  1. Make sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
  2. If you are freezing lemon slices, flash freeze them so that they don’t stick together. You can, therefore, just take out as many slices as you want.
  3. If you freeze whole lemons and just want the zest, you can grate them from frozen. However, you can also just freeze the zest. This will take up less space in the freezer.
  4. Freeze lemon juice in an ice cube tray. Then you can just take out as many cubes as you need.

For How Long Can You Freeze Lemons?

You can freeze lemons for up to three months. Of course, the earlier you use them, the tastier they will be. However, lemon zest only lasts for a month in the freezer. 

How Do You Defrost Lemons?

If you have frozen whole lemons, you just need to run them under warm water. It won’t take long to defrost. You can only use defrosted whole lemons for their juice. They will probably be too mushy to slice. If you have frozen sliced lemons, you can just pop the slices straight into the drink. They will soon melt. This may sound odd but after all, you usually put ice in your cocktail.

When it comes to frozen zest, you can just sprinkle this straight into the dish you are cooking. Lemon juice is best defrosted in the fridge if you are going to use it in something like a salad dressing. However, if you are going to use it in a smoothie, you can pop it straight into the blender with the other ingredients. The same goes if you are going to use the lemon juice cubes in a stew or casserole.

Can You Refreeze Lemons?

It’s safe to refreeze lemons but we don’t recommend it. Every time you defrost lemons, they lose moisture. The flavor of a lemon is in the juice so the less juice there is, the less flavor you will have. In addition, you will lose some of the nutrients. Because of this, it is best to just defrost as much juice or zest as you need. This is easy if you freeze the juice in an ice cube tray as you can just take out as many cubes as you need. By flash-freezing lemon slices they won’t stick together so you can take out as many slices as you need for your cocktails.

Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Lemons?

If you are freezing lemons for their juice or zest, then yes, it is a good idea to freeze lemons. If you freeze whole lemons you will, however, find that the flesh does go mushy. Slicing is better as you can just drop the slices straight into your drink. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing lemons, but if you are still curious, we have answered a couple of questions here.

Can you freeze preserved lemons?

You can, but there is no point as they last for between six months and a year. 

What are the health benefits of lemons?

Lemons are good for your health. They normalize cholesterol, help to prevent cancer, and protect against bacterial and fungal injections.

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