I had the funnest morning yesterday - I spent several hours finding creative ways to use up a bag of lovely homegrown lemons given to me during our recent Bay Area stay. I had 14 lemons in total, enough to start my first ever batch of Limoncello, plus Lemon Squares, plus enough left over to freeze in one tablespoon cubes for future use.
I'm very happy to be back in my kitchen again, even if only for a few days!
After looking at several recipes on the internet, I went with this one.
First, it's important to note that limoncello takes several weeks to make, so determining when to start it is important. I checked our calendar several times to make sure we'd be in town for both the second and third stages of preparation.
Second, it takes a lot of time to peel the skin, minus the pith, off the lemons. About an hour and a half in my case. A nice time to do this, therefore, is when you can multi task. In my case, our son in law was visiting, so I sat at the table carefully peeling the lemons while he, Mike and I all chatted over coffee. Worked out perfect! The lemons were peeled before I knew it.
Thirdly, make sure to get off all the pith. You want your peels to look more like this:
And finally, make sure to place everything needed for the stage one steeping period into a glass jar, not plastic. I had limited options as it turned out, so I ended up using the glass vodka bottle I'd just emptied for this project:
For now, that's as far as I can carry this project. I'll be back here to post in about a month, when the first stage is completed. In the meantime, I'll be perusing this site to decide what type of little glass containers to order. I see some fun hostess gifts in my friends' futures!
I previously shared my wonderful lemon square recipe here (scroll to bottom of post), but I may not have mentioned that I almost always end up freezing the majority of them afterward, other than the one or two I leave out for Mike and I to enjoy right away. They freeze beautifully, and will easily hold for up to a month or two.
I separate the squares onto wax paper lined plates, which I then place uncovered into my freezer overnight.
The next morning I place the frozen squares into ziplock bags, where the live happily frozen until I take them out to enjoy, usually just one or two at a time. This batch was particularly delicious. I couldn't believe the strong, beautiful flavor in these homegrown lemons compared to the lemons I get from the store!
Frozen Lemon Juice Cubes
And finally, I juiced all the peeled lemons left over from my limoncello efforts, and froze them overnight in one tablespoon increments in an ice cube tray.
I then tossed the frozen cubes into a labeled ziplock bag for future usage.
We're leaving tomorrow for our next RV trip, so this morning I'll be busy making banana muffins with some overripe bananas, plus a pesto pasta from the last of my basil plant leaves. I'll take some of what I'm making with us, and leave the rest in the freezer to enjoy when we return. I love coming home to a freezer full of homemade items to simply defrost and serve, vs feeling compelled to survive on pricey takeout until I have a chance to get to the market and restock.
- My Favorite Banana Muffin recipe (I sometimes add chocolate chips, like I did today to half the batch)
- My Favorite Pesto Pasta recipe (I add toasted pine nuts at the end)
This morning (Tue) we're on our way to Pismo Beach, where in addition to running along the sand and wine tasting in nearby Edna Valley, we'll be out of WiFi range.
Updates to my blog when we get to Paso Robles on Friday!