Preserving lemons for as long as possible depends on understanding some of the basics of food science, but rest assured that the method is beyond simple. Before even one innocent fruit enters the trash or compost bin, we have a simple trick to keep your lemons fresh for a whole month (yes, really). Want to help #savethelemons? Read below for the best way to store lemons according to a food scientist and a chef.
How to store lemons, according to a food scientist
Storing citrus fruits may seem like a later thought once you get home from the grocery store. Once you have exhausted your efforts, reorganizing the refrigerator to fit everything from your shopping, throwing lemons in a bowl of citrus fruits and leaving them out on the counter may not seem like a big deal. However, after talking to Natalie Alibrandi, a London-based food scientist and CEO of Nali Consulting, we quickly learned that this simple act deprived our citrus fruits of their full potential for freshness.
1. Keep them in the refrigerator, not on the counter
“If you want to keep your lemons fresh, it is advisable to keep them in the fridge – and even better, in the drawer,” says Alibrandi. Indeed, all these cooking shows with impeccable, high-style kitchen counters filled with fresh lemons and limes, completely lured us into it (… but I still love you more, Ina and Martha).
“Lemons left on the counter, especially if they are near bananas or other ethylene-producing fruits, can ripen. very faster “, adds Alibrandi. According to professionals at Cook’s Illustrated who tried the shelf life of lemons stored on the counter opposite the refrigerator, the fruit stored at room temperature expired after a week. The lemons in the fridge, however, remained ripe and juicy for four times during that time: a whole month.
The impressive discovery that lemons stay fresh belongs to the science of food. “Fruits ripen naturally slower in the fridge as the colder temperature slows everything down,” says Alibrandi. For optimal storage conditions, the USDA recommends keeping the refrigerator at about 40 ° F, as “bacteria that can cause foodborne illness either do not grow or grow very slowly at refrigerator temperatures.
2. Rinse, dry and seal the lemons in an airtight bag before refrigerating
At large restaurants like Spago in Beverly Hills, keeping fresh lemons is always a top priority. “We use tons of lemons, so we spend a lot of time keeping them for grating, juicing and garnishing dishes,” says sous chef Jessica Alferos. The point? He clearly knows one or two things about how to store lemons for as long as possible. When you are at home, Alferos recommends first rinsing and drying the lemons to eliminate any bacteria (or moisture) that might be present on the fruit and then wrapping them in an airtight bag to keep them from drying out. According to Alferos, the cooling fans of a refrigerator create an arid environment inside the refrigerator, which can mean premature aging, if you fail to wrap your lemons in a bag before cooling them.
3. And do not forget to store your lemons in the drawer
Why the crisper drawer, you may ask? Crisper drawers have their own separate airflow system or temperature controls, making them a colder zone with more humidity, which is ideal for keeping products fresh, says Kristen Hong, author of the book Fridge Lovehad previously said Well + Good.
For a gluten-free, gluten-free way to use all these fresh lemons you’re going to have, bake this delicious lemon loaf recipe:
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