I rarely have real lemons in my kitchen. The idea of buying a lemon just to spritz some juice or zest into a dish has always been annoying to me. I feel like I'm wasting either the zest or the juice...
I'll occasionally buy them to make my moms lemon meringue pie, or my lemon kitchen cleaner. I'll freeze the juice in ice cube trays and add it to my honey whole wheat bread, but more often than not, I am lemon-less. And I'm even worse with limes.
And just so we are clear, refrigerated lemon juice has a permanent home in my kitchen. But it doesn't do justice when you need the boost you get from the tangy zest. (And if you've never looked into purchasing dry zest, don't. It is way too expensive.)
So today I'm sharing my two favorite ways for adding intense citrus flavor, without using real citrus.
(and these really are MY favorites - I'm not being compensated to write this post).
I was just telling my hairdresser about using essential oils in the kitchen and her reaction shocked me. "Gross! Doesn't it make everything oily?"
It's not oily.
It's freaking amazing.
Lemon essential oil packs an insane amount of lemony goodness in each tiny drop.
Put two in a mug of warm water with a Tbsp. of honey for a wonderful lemon tea, perfect for soothing a sore throat.
Or use it as a substitute for lemon extract to perk up frostings and icings.
I'll add it to muffins and quick breads to intensify the flavor.
You can't go wrong here.
And, trust me on this one, lime essential oil does wonders with meat. One of my all time favorite chicken marinades will never be made without 3-5 drops of lime essential oil again.
And you better believe I'm dropping in some lovely lime goodness every time I make this quinoa dish.
In fact, I don't even buy refrigerated lime juice anymore. If a recipe calls for it, I replace the same amount with lemon juice, and add in 3-5 drops of lime essential oil. A-mazing flavor.
The process is really simple. I don't have an exact "recipe", but basically, if the recipe calls for zest, I throw in 3-5 drops, give it a taste, and add one more from there if it needs a little extra.
Remember, this stuff is potent! A little goes a long way.
My other favorite flavor booster: Classic Lemonade mix from Thrive Life
This lemon love affair happened completely by accident. I had won a can of this stuff in a drawing, and, being purely water drinkers in our home, we'd had it sitting in the basement for months before breaking it open. My 9 year olds' desire to have a lemonade stand one hot afternoon brought this out of the storage room and it has stayed in the pantry ever since.
It is a dry powder mix, designed to add water and sweetener to make lemonade.
It is TART.
It is POWERFULLY lemon.
It is the perfect zest replacement.
One teaspoon of this stuff will surpass any 'zest from one lemon' in any and all of your recipes. Seriously, start with a tsp. Its crazy strong.
I made two fantastic desserts with this (coming soon), and the flavor was incredible.
But don't stop there. Some cracked pepper and a tiny dusting of this powder over fish... heavenly.
And of course, if your into that sort of thing, go ahead and make some lemonade. It's decent.
The same company also carries limeade (seasonally - they'll stop offering it when summer is over).
These cans hold about 4 cups of powder and run for about $21. That's a lot of lemon powdered goodness for the price.
You can order them online through the links above (and you can pick them up for free at their American Fork location if you are local), or they'll ship it to you.
I hope this helps bring some citrus happiness into your kitchen!