Thursday, December 6, 2012

Home-made Lemon / Lime Sugar

Remember the conversation about lemon extract and how I wasn't too thrilled with the results. It just wasn't strong enough. Well, this last fall I studied lemon oil and how to make it home-made. You grate the lemon color off of lots and lots of lemons creating lemon zest and fill a bottle half full of this freshly grated, wonderfully smelling covering.
 After reading this I said, "Yeah, in my dreams." to my self of course or someone might hear me and think I'm crazy. Wait, you already know that. You've been reading my blogs. But it was a yeah, right, because to fill a bottle half full would equate to more lemons than I can afford since a lemon does not give you very much zest. Maybe e-how figures you have a lemon tree growing in your back yard. Like that would ever happen on the arid plains of Wyoming.
But anyway, you then fill the jar up with oil and set it in a warm window. I'd say on top my fridge since it is cold outside when lemons are the freshest and cheapest. Shake several times a day and in a few days, voila, lemon oil. Other sites say to heat on the stove but it doesn't matter, I can't imagine this being terribly strong either. Especially when I read that it takes over a hundred lemons to make one ounce of commercial lemon oil.  
 So what's a Wyomingite to do? Brain storm of course. I just happened to get some lemons and limes in a Bountiful Basket and already had a few that needed used up so I sliced them and dried them in the dehydrator on a fairly low temperature for fear of loosing the lemony and lime flavor with too high a heat.
The insides came out surprisingly easy.  I didn't use the outsides because of the white pith which is bitter tasting but I suppose next time I'll grate the outside, dry it and then dry the insides too removing the pith afterwards.
I then tried putting the mixture in the blender but there wasn't enough for the blades to get a hold of and chop. The mixture is too oily to put through the wheat grinder without messing it up and so the dried mixture of lemons and limes sat in my pantry waiting. So many of my projects are just like this. I get part way and am distracted by life's interferences. I've got some buckwheat I grew out in my garden the summer before last in just such a state. It needs dehulled but I've not gotten to trying dehulling without the mechanical dehuller. Not sure how well it will work. Anyone know?
I hear a company in Montana is making one for small home use and it should be out soon. I'll let you know when I've checked further into it.
So spurred by our little conversation, I got out my small sandwich bag a third full and put it into the blender. Still didn't want to chop by itself so I put in a cup of sugar instead of the flour I had intended on using. I decided on sugar because the fancy cooking magazines have flavored sugars. Why not go all fancy dancy myself and make my own. 
I turned the blender to chop.  It did so, so but there were lot of larger of lemon and lime. Then I tried pouring through the small opening in the lid and had much better results. In fact, I put the mixture through this way three times.
Still a few clumps a little too big but not bad. I now intend on tasting this concoction and adding it to a lemon pound cake I want to make and put in the freezer this weekend.
I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm also wondering if you used dried lemon zest if the lemon oil would be stronger. I'll probably never know since I don't have a lemon tree but a girl can wonder.

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