I bet THAT title got your attention, huh? Yup. Friendly clickbait. Just kidding. You’ll learn why lemons and breastmilk are in the same heading right here, folks. I have a lovely Meyer lemon tree growing in my backyard that I purchased 14 years ago when I moved to Texas. It produces an abundance of bright happy yellow fruits most years, with dormant breaks every few years. In Houston, I’ve noticed that citrus trees tend to produce ripe fruit around the time of Chinese (Lunar) New Year, which is in the January-February time frame. This lunar new year, the Year of the Rat, falls on January 25th. So the whole idyllic vision of wearing a gauzy sundress and floppy hat and picking fresh lemons in the hot summer afternoons to make a cold glass of lemonade is a total lie…at least here in Texas. It’s the middle of freezing January, and I’m out harvesting lemons today, wearing a coat. Not in the mood for a tall glass of icy lemonade.
Speaking of the cold weather, Houston is bi-polar– It was warm last week, but we get to have winter and a possible tornado warning all in one weekend. And it happens to be this weekend. So in order to avoid losing all my lemons in tonight’s freeze like I did in last year’s spur-of-the-moment frost, I had to bundle up and pick all the lemons this afternoon.
But there’s only so many fresh lemons one needs at any given time, outside of giving them away or making meringue pies. So, I came up with a nifty way to preserve this precious golden juice. Years ago after I stopped nursing my last child, I had a surplus of breastmilk storage bags. Not knowing what to do with them, I saved them in the kitchen cabinet in hopes that I could give the bags to another nursing mom who might need them one day. When the lemons ripened that particular year, I was overburdened with a surplus of fruit (even after giving many grocery bags full of lemons away to friends and neighbors). Since I was raised to not waste anything, especially food, I had to find a way to save those lemons. It was then that I remembered those breastmilk storage bags I had kept in the cabinet. What a great way to store lemon juice in the freezer! They were BPA-free, leak-proof, and each held the perfect amount of juice to make a full pitcher of lemonade. In order to use the lemon juice, all I had to do was thaw the bags, and the juice would taste freshly squeezed. Another plus is that if you are trying to be more environmentally savvy, these breastmilk bags can be rinsed out and reused in the future. And there you have it, how lemons and breastmilk are related in this topic. 🙂 Please don’t hate me.
Here is how I preserve the juice from my Meyer lemons:
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To extract the most amount of juice from your lemons or any citrus fruit, you need to have a good citrus press. My favorite press is made by Breville. I have had this citrus juicer for over 10 years now, and it has not failed me yet. I really like the Breville citrus juicer because it is fast, efficient, and leaves behind a dry rind. I liked it so much that I purchased a second one, just in case the first one ever died on me (which it has not…fingers crossed!).
Each breastmilk storage bag holds up to about 6 ounces of liquid, which is the perfect amount of lemon juice to make a large pitcher of lemonade. Fill each bag up to the brim with juice. I mostly use the Lansinoh brand because I like their secure zip-lock closure, but any BPA-free brand will do. Be sure to label the bag as “lemon juice” because some brands have “My Mommy’s Milk” printed on the bags and it freaks out my kids and unassuming visitors sometimes. The frozen lemon juice will stay fresh in the freezer for 12 to 18 months. Just thaw and use for lemonade, pies, macaron filling, etc. I hope you found this post more helpful than weird. Can’t wait til summer to sip that cold glass of lemonade! For now, a nice cup of hot cocoa would be nice!