| Plant Answers > CITRUS: How to Make Homemade/Home-frozen Orange Juice, Mandarin Juice or Lemon Juice|
Whole lemons/limes can be frozen but not very successfully. The water content in the fruit will freeze and expand and cause the cell walls to rupture. So the texture of the frozen fruit will be much softer and more liquid.
The best way to approach the lemons/limes is to think about how they will be used. Lime/lemon juice freezes well. Lemon/lime quarters will freeze better than a whole fruit. Rinse and dry it well, quarter. Freeze single layer then put in a freezer bags and take out as many quarters as you want for your drinks or use.
You can zest the lemons and freeze the zest (outside peeling) as well.
Making and freezing your own orange, lemon or other citrus juice is easy. Here's how to make your own home frozen citrus juice. The orange, lemon or other juice will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store, and by selecting the right fruit, it will be so naturally-sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years.
Directions for Making Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Tangerine or Other Citrus Juice
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online.
- Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores)
- At least 1 large pot (at least 8-quart size or larger)
- Large spoons and ladles
- Freezing bags or containers
- Sieve: a simple metal or plastic sieve.
- Filters - if you want filtered juice-jelly bag
- Coffee filters
Recipe and Directions
Step 1 - Selecting the fruit
The most important step! You should choose the best fruit you can get and make far better juice. It is fine to use small fruit and less attractive varieties, as long as they are firm and unspoiled!
You'll get about 12 to 20 quarts of lemon juice per bushel of lemons. Count on 15 or 16 quarts per bushel.
Step 3 -Wash and peel the lemons or oranges.
Wash the fruit in plain cold water. If you have a juicer or squeezer, it makes it much easier. If you don't have a juicer, just peel the fruit, then chop or crush the fruit with a potato masher and continue to the next step.
Step 4 - Squeeze the fruit
Squeeze juice from fruit, using a squeezer and technique that does not press the oil from rind (the oil has a bitter taste). If you have a juicer, you can use it on the peeled fruit.
If you desire, you may sweeten with 2 tablespoons sugar, honey, Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) or whatever you prefer for each quart of juice; or pack without sugar.
Step 5 - If desired, sieve the citrus
If you want pulp-free juice and you didn't use a juicer in step 4 that separates the pulp, you want to separate the liquid from the pulp (and seeds, stems, etc. ) There are quite a variety of ways to filter the lemons.
If you like a natural citrus juice, with the natural pulp of the fruit in it, just put the oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc. into a large metal or plastic sieve or colander or sieve, with holes small enough to trap seeds, but large enough to let the pulp through. Colanders seem to work best.
Another way, if you want filtered pulpless orange or lemon juice, is just to line your sieve or colander with several layers of cheese cloth and let the juice drip through. It could take an hour.
If you want really clear orange or lemon juice, you can strain the juice through a paper coffee filter place inside a sieve or colander.
If you want more filtered orange or lemon juice, use a jelly bag. Just pour hot prepared fruit pulp into a jelly bag and let it drip. Do not squeeze the bag.
Step 6 - Fill the jars
Pour juice into containers immediately. To avoid development of off-flavors, pack juice in glass jars. Leave one-half inch headspace at the top of the jar.
Step 7 - Freeze the jars or other containers
Then you should seal and freeze. Be sure the jars are upright. Leave the lids on loosely, until they freeze solid, and then tighten them. That helps to avoid breakage.
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