Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bittman, Stop Reading My Mind!

The other day I had a grocery store failure. I went to three different grocery stores and could find no lemon juice, no lime juice, and no 9 inch square baking pans (the story of the 9 inch square baking pan is for another day). But I did notice that the citrus at Henry's was dirt cheap. Actually, I think dirt is more expensive. But Henry's was the first store I went to, so I figured one of the later stores would have my lemon juice and lime juice. And I questioned how long home squeezed lemon or lime juice would keep. Then I open up my New York Times on Tuesday and what do I see? Mark Bittman's article, "Fresh Start for a New Year? Let’s Begin in the Kitchen." And what is #5 on his list?

OUT Bottled lemon juice.

IN Lemons. Try buying six at a time, then experiment; I never put lemon on something and regret it. (Scramble a couple of eggs in chicken stock, then finish with a lot of lemon, black pepper and dill; call this egg-lemon soup, or avgolemono.) Don’t forget the zest: you can grate it and add it to many pan sauces, or hummus and other purées. And don’t worry about reamers, squeezers or any of that junk; squeeze from one hand into the other and let your fingers filter out the pips.
Then I recalled making pineapple sauce (for ham, it's awesome, and if you're interested I'll post the recipe) with my mom in Florida this past December. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon juice. She opened up the freezer and pulled out a bag of what looked like cloudy ice cubes and popped one in the pan. Apparently some neighbor had an excess of lemons and Mom eased their burden by picking as many as she could carry. She squeezed them and froze the juice in an ice cube tray after determining each cube from said tray held exactly one tablespoon. Genius, no?

So on my grocery list for next week: all the lemons I can carry.

Updated 1/11/2009 to add:
Serious Eats compiled a list of lemon recipes to celebrate lemon season.

Henry's sells lemons for $0.50 a piece, which works out to about $2.00 per pound. Henry's also sells 1 lb. bags of lemons for $1.49. The limes are $0.33 each, which works out to $2.64 per pound. I did find one of those plastic lime-shaped containers of lime juice at Henry's this week for $0.79 for 4 fl. oz.

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