Last month I had the chance to pass by Saida, in South Lebanon, throughout our Clown Me In tour, and see the stalls of the last few citrus varieties before the season is over.
I bought a 20kg crate of beautiful yellow lemons and another of Valencia oranges and got them home. I swear I spent a whole afternoon with a big bowl of water to wash them and the zester to zest most of those lemons and orange and freeze them for later use. I’m grateful for sitcoms and comedy shows that kept me company all day.
But I can’t complain.
It felt good. Relaxed and unwound with the zesty citrus aromas.
And I have zest for the whole year!
What do I do with all this Zest?
I freeze it. I put it on a cookie sheet between two plastic wrap sheets in a thin layer, then once it is frozen completely, I scoop it into a jar and store it in the freezer for whenever I need the zest.
You can also mix it with salt and dry it in the oven then whizz it in the processor and make lemon salt. But I like to freeze it.
Another reason for buying those lemons is that my mom freezes the juice. We squeeze the lemons and put them in small bottles and freeze them. Mom’s reasoning is that lemons are more expensive and have less juice in summer, and that we have a lot of consumption. She has a point.
With all the lemon juice and zest I had, all I could think of was making a simple lemon sorbet!
I called it Lemonade because the way I made it is similar to how people in Batroun, a city in north Lebanon, make their lemonade: by rubbing and soaking chunks of lemon in sugar and leaving it for a few hours to infuse and extract all the flavors, bitterness, and essential oils before adding water and the aromatic orange blossom water.
I don’t have an ice cream machine at home, so I used my other trusted machine; my food processor.
The method consists freezing your mix (in small batches) then pulsing it in the processor until smooth. You have to have a powerful one with a good motor and sharp blades. You can use a strong blender too, but make sure to let the icy mix thaw just a bit to loosen it up.
After whizzing the whole thing and get this luscious creamy ice mix, I eat a few spoons, suffer through a brain freeze, and eventually put the rest of the mix into a container and put it back in the freezer to set.
Of course if you have an ice cream machine, you’ll skip the first freezing, and only churn the mix until it freezes.
And another tip, easy on the tasting spoonfuls. BRAIN FREEZES are not fun.