Jul 6, 2023
Lemon is a great citrus because it’s so versatile and rich in vitamin C and flavonoids. Its tangy, sour taste helps enhance the flavor of any dish. We love having lemons in our home, but they can spoil easily. Sometimes we get a nasty surprise when we open the vegetable drawer and find a rotting lemon that was good days ago. Since we have our trusty freeze dryer, we decided to preserve its flavor and nutrients through freeze drying.
For freeze-drying lemons, here’s what you’ll need:
The parchment paper will keep the lemon from sticking to the tray. If you place them on top of the lemon slices you prepared, it can help you stack even more to save space.
Wash the lemons well to get all the dirt out. If you’re going to use the peels, you can wash the lemons in 1:1 water and vinegar to get all chemicals and thick grime off them.
You can slice them in circles, halves, or wedges, whichever you prefer. You can also keep the skins on or peel them. Once you’re done, place them on the tray lined with parchment paper. This will keep the lemons
Also, to sweeten the slices a bit, you can use sugar or sweeteners of your choice. This turns your lemon into a delicious lemony candy when it comes out of the freeze dryer. We used stevia, a plant-based sweetener 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar. Head’s up, though, if you haven’t used stevia. Some people find it bitter, while others say there’s a hint of menthol. Most people say stevia does take some getting used to, but there are some who took an instant liking to it. So use a tiny bit of it first before you decide if it’s good for your freeze-dried lemons.
Also, remember to take out the seeds. They add time to your freeze drying, yet they don’t freeze dry well because of the seed membrane. If you’re going to store the lemon for long-term storage, these seeds will ruin your hard work.
Place the slices on the tray as close as you can. They’re not going to expand like other sugary treats so it’s okay to crowd them together.
We pre-froze the lemons to cut down on the freeze drying time for this batch. Still, you don’t have to since lemons don’t have that much membrane to deal with. They do have more water compared to dragon fruit, so pre-freezing can help. So you can or don’t have to freeze the lemons, depending on your preference.
Having a freeze dryer does make life easier for preserving food. We put in quite a huge investment on our freeze dryer, but with the way we got to preserve our food, it was well worth it.
We didn’t freeze dry a lot of lemon so we just used the standard setting in our freeze dryer. This batch of our lemons took about 28 hours to freeze dry. I couldn’t imagine having to do this using an ice box and dry ice.
If in case you’re in doubt that you left some seeds in, add in some extra hours. We would suggest between 8 and 12 hours. Depending on your load, freeze drying can take up to 30 hours.
Freeze-dried lemons have this crunchy, brittle feel to them when they’re done. They’re really dry and easily crumble to powder when pressed between your fingers. There may be some bubbles, but these are okay and shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
If you’re going to use the freeze-dried lemons often, an airtight container is good enough. Nothing fancy, just anything you can easily open and seal without allowing air to flow inside when you’re not using it. Mason jars are good, and there are even vacuum sealers for this purpose. But as with jars, they do take up space, so you may have to organize your pantry for this.
For long-term storage, you can use Mylar bags. These are highly popular because they’re designed to keep away air and moisture out. What’s more, you don’t need special equipment to seal it. A flat iron is good, but if you want a good seal, a sealer is also good.
Keep in mind to place your freeze-dried lemon in a cool, dry, and dark place. Many say the room temperature shouldn’t go above 72°F (22°C). Others prefer 70°F (21°C) to be on the safe side.
You can add slices to lemon water as support to your diet and fitness regimen. Or you can use them to add flavor to your fruit juices for a cooling drink.
If you want the lemon flavor without the noticeable lemon slices, then you can grind your freeze-dried lemon into powder. You can use it to make refreshing drinks, flavor your frostings and cakes, or add zest to your meals and salads.
Have you ever tried freeze-drying lemons? How was it, and what did you often use them for? Let us know in the comment section.
Also, please don’t forget to visit our YouTube Channel. We’ve got more videos for you about freeze drying, so watch out for them!