Starting with Lemons




I zested and juiced about a hundred lemons the other day.  Well, not really a hundred, more like 20, but my hands were still aching by the time I was finished.

After zesting all the lemons, I divided the zest between two quart-sized canning jars and poured in vodka for homemade limoncello.  The lemon zest and vodka will have to steep for about a month before it's ready to be strained and then mixed with simple syrup, after which it will rest for another month or so before it's ready to drink.

If you've never tasted limoncello, I urge you to try it.  It's an Italian lemon liqueur, and it's tart, sweet, refreshing and delightfully summery.  I'm excited that mine will be ready when summer arrives.










Once a lemon is zested, it will quickly lose its freshness and dry out without the peel to hold in the moisture, so it needs to be juiced right away.  I juiced all the lemons and filled another quart-sized jar almost full with fresh lemon juice, intending to keep it in the fridge for future use.  But then I thought of freezing the juice in ice cube trays, with a few mint leaves in each, to toss into glasses of ice water.

The size of the glass will determine how many lemon ice cubes you need, and for these little half-pint jars, one cube was plenty.  You can even add sugar, if you like, for lemonade, but I like the tart freshness of just the lemon water.


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