Did you know that only four states in the U.S. produce citrus? And we are lucky enough to live in one of them! Arizona a fabulous climate for citrus and right now we are nearing the end of the peak citrus production period, which typically runs from November to January. That means that lemon trees throughout the Valley are currently laden with fruit!
If you have a lemon tree in your yard like we do, you know that just one tree can produce a ton of lemons. The whole family usually pitches in to pick the fruit, which can take quite a while with so many lemons to harvest. Thankfully the boys seem to enjoy it! A quick note on harvesting your lemons: Don’t pick them until they are ripe AND you are ready to use them. They will not continue to ripen after they are picked and they can be left on the tree without becoming overripe.
In order to make the most of our lemon crop, we like to squeeze them soon after picking and store the juice in glass jars. If we plan on using it right away, we keep it in the fridge, but the juice is only good for three days in the refrigerator before it becomes susceptible to bacteria. The rest we store in the freezer where it can be kept for up to six months.
Although we enjoy having lemon juice ready to use in the freezer, our harvest still tends to be more than one family needs. In which case, it is a great idea to share! Who wouldn’t love the gift of fresh lemonade?! This year we decided to do just that. We squeezed crate-fulls of lemons, poured the juice into pint sized jars, attached cute little tags with directions for making lemonade, and hand-delivered them to our good friends and family!
If you would like to share your harvest too, you can get my printable tags by clicking here. Tie the tags onto jars filled with 2 cups of lemon juice and your friends will be ready to drink up the most delicious homemade lemonade! Be sure to remind them to use it quickly or store it in the freezer to enjoy later. The ingredient amounts for the lemonade are 7 cups of water and 1-1/4 cups sugar to be combined with the 2 cups of lemon juice. This makes a sweet, but tangy lemonade that we think is just perfect!
For other great printables or gardening tips, be sure to check out my blog: Salt and Pepper Moms!