Thursday, April 11, 2013

Preserving your Citrus

My house smells so nice and fresh. This time of year, I try to preserve my limes, lemons, oranges and tangerines as much as I can. I use lots of citrus in my cooking, cleaning, some crafts and even some skin care. So before the freeze kills all their nutrients, lets preserve. Citrus juice already squeezed, is only good for a couple of days in your fridge, before it starts picking up bacteria. If you freeze it, it can last up to 7 months , with no preservatives. Some people say 4 to 5 months, but to my understanding, that’s only if your trees have been sprayed with additives, and pesticides. Mine aren’t and I use this juice for a good 7 to 8 months, with no problems. I also like to take advantage of the fruit in every way possible.

 My first step is getting the zest from the limes and lemons (before I cut them), I mix these 2 together and use them for several things, like, marinades, citrus pastries, cakes, skin care etc. Then I do the orange and tangerines together, that works wonders for your marinades in any kind of meat, pork, chicken. I use it to make “Vegan Carnitas” (Mexican pork), and it’s soooo delish.

Then I cut them and squeeze all the juice out (I do keep these separate and label them before freezing). I use the mini cupcake tins and the regulars as well. The large cupcake tins (after frozen) are great to make lemonade. I use 2 of those, water and sweetener in a large glass pitcher. Boom it’s gone in a jiffy (add fresh basil and mint leaves).
Don’t throw away your pulp, add it to my zest mix for an extra kick.

I use both, the mini cupcake tins and the regular size ones to freeze the juice. Pure lime juice and keep the lemon juice separate. I like to label these so there's no confusion.

 Cover your tins with plastic wrap first and then aluminum foil, and into the freezer they go. Write on the foil with a marker so you don't confuse the lime juice from the lemon.

 After you’ve squeezed all that juice out, I cut some of those halves into smaller pieces and put them into smaller sandwich bags in the freezer and label them “Garbage Disposal”. I keep a small dish by my sink and use them to keep the disposal smelling wonderful. I only like using lemons and sometimes Oranges. This is one way to keep your disposal and your sink smelling wonderfully fresh. It helps with nasty stuff that gets stuck in the disposal and disinfects it. And the biggest plus??? good for the earth, your plumbing and harmless.

For the lemon/lime zest and pulp mixture, put in the ice trays. It makes about 1 tbsp. each.  These are so good for my Coconut/Lime Thai fish and lemon squares but you can add to any recipe. Do the same thing with the Orange Zest, which is excellent to marinate carne asada and carnitas recipes.

Remove the lime and lemon frozen juice and place them in a Freezer Ziplock bag. Please make sure you label them and date them. Keep in the freezer and use as you need.

 Orange/tangerine/cloves and cinnamon home cleaner. Best cleaner/disinfectant you'll ever use and no chemicals. Can be use for anything in your home except stone and granite top counters. Reason is that the citrus will release it's Essential Oils so it may look oily if used for that purpose.
Pack a 1 pint mason jar with the peals (in this care I have Orange and Tangerine)add cloves and a couple of cinnamon sticks. Top it with white vinegar, seal with lid and place them in a dark cool place for approximately 5 to 6 weeks. Don't forget to mark the date and contents. This will be a concentrate. When it's done drain very well into clean jars, label them and add about 5 drops of essential oils (according to what you have in the jar) if you would like a stronger scent. For example 5 drops of orange or tangerine essential oils to this one, and Lemon to the other cleaner. This step is optional.
Follow the same instructions above for the Lemon/Lime and Rosemary Cleaner. When is done after the 6 weeks, then you can add Essential oils of Lemon and Rosemary, but this is optional. 
After the 6 week of these babies soaking in the vinegar, you will notice the liquid looks dirty almost. No worries, it only means your job is almost done. Using a large measuring cup or bowl, place a colander with cheesecloth over it, and pour all the contents of the jar out. Put a little pressure on those peels to make sure all the liquid goes in the bowl. You can now pour the clean contents into a clean jar, label it (example) "Lemon/Rosemary Cleaner Concentrate", and keep with your cleaning supplies. 

To make your mix, I use a 16 oz spray bottle. The least expensive place to get this kind, is at the beauty supply for about $1.50. Add about 4 oz of your concentrate and top it with water. I like to add about 2 more oz's of white vinegar and then the water. The vinegar smell disappears after a while, but the orange spice smells stays. 

Hope this has helped some of you out there that have citrus trees. Also, get your kids involved, they'll love it.
Blessed Be