Friday, December 28, 2007

Lemon Juicing

The lemon tree is full of ripe lemons. It's time to start juicing.

First we have to pick them. The outer ones are easy. It's the inner ones that are trickier to get. If you've never seen a lemon tree up close then you need to know they have wicked sharp spines.

Then they need to be washed. Why wash when we're only after the juice inside? Simple! Because when you juice this many lemons at one time, the hand holding the lemon will get wet from the juice from slicing or water from washing or the oil from the skin from holding onto the juicer. Then it's inevitable that it will start dripping down the outside of the lemon, gathering whatever is on the peel and dripping into the juice collecting area of the juicer. And remember, these lemons were from outside, where they get dirty from our dusty polluted valley air, and the birds sit in the tree and poop where ever they please. That poop falls on the lemons too. They're easy to clean in a sink full of water and the rough side of a scrubby sponge.

Dirty lemon...

...clean lemon.

Now we have a bowl full of clean lemons waiting to be sliced.

I've got my juicer ready to go with the 4 cup holder underneath. The cutting board is right there. I like to cut as many as will fit on the board before juicing. I can usually go through two board fulls before I have to stop and clean the pulp and seed catcher. The garbage is just to the right so the juiced halves get dropped in after juicing. I started with the lemons I zested for the limoncello.

That's one good smelling garbage can!

After an hour and a half and five buckets of lemons I got 12 quarts of lemon juice. I got tired so I stopped. The tree still has 2/3 of fruit on there. Somebody help me out!

The next step will be to transfer all this juice to quart size bags. Then they will be frozen until I use them in various recipes.

Lemon meringue pie, anyone?

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