If You Buy One Costco Item in Bulk This Month, Let It Be This

published Jun 13, 2023
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Credit: Cassiohabib

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Buying fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk is a calculated risk. You can find some great deals by shopping this way, but can you really be sure you’ll get through the bunch before things start to take a turn for the worse?

This spring, I fell in love with a particular Costco bulk produce purchase. I’ve used the stuff to make marinades, salad dressings, and even kitchen cleaning solutions! What am I talking about? If there is one item you should absolutely buy in bulk this month, let it be a five-pound bag of Costco lemons.

Credit: Patty Catalano

Why Lemons Are the One Thing You Should Buy in Bulk This Month

Throughout my cooking journey, I’ve learned that there are very few dishes not improved by a squeeze of lemon. It’s important to note that a balance of acid is one of the major tenants of good cooking — for proof of that look no further than Samin Nosrat’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I love adding sunny citrus flavor to grill-friendly marinades with juiced and sliced lemon, herbs, and olive oil. While I’m standing by the coals, I choose to cool off with an icy glass of lemonade (using the best technique, of course)!

When I’m not using them for beverages or savory applications, I love to use the rest of my lemons to make bright and tangy desserts, such as lemon bars and mile-high lemon meringue pie. I’d also be remiss not to mention that lemon zest is my equivalent of gold fairy dust when used in nearly every application.

Credit: Erika Tracy

As if there weren’t enough reasons to love lemons, add this to your list: You can also clean with them. Forgo store-bought cleaners that boast a “lemon fresh scent” in favor of the real thing! It’s not magic that gives lemons their impressive cleaning power — it’s citric acid, which creates an unfriendly environment for familiar kitchen bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.

Lemons also can neutralize offensive odors, leaving a naturally fresh citrus sent lingering in the air. Try using lemons to clean butcher block stains, remove rust spots, dust, and make DIY drain cleaners.

Credit: Kitchn

How to Freeze Lemons for Later

If you’re still left with a few lemons after cooking and cleaning, they won’t go to waste! While lemons do last for up to a few weeks in the fridge, the freezer is your friend for extending this citrusy bulk buy.

The first step to expertly freezing your leftover lemons is to be sure to zest them first. A rasp grater, like a Microplane, has small, sharp blades that make it easy to remove the fragrant golden peel, while leaving the bitter white pith behind. Spread the zest on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze, then transfer to an airtight container for future use. Then juice the zested bodies and freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays, about 1 tablespoon per portion. This way, you can use the juice in a recipe (much) later!

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: If You Buy One Thing in Bulk This Month, Let It Be This