I'm juicing!

In my world, full of veggies and recipe blogs, "juicing" usually refers to doing a juice fast. That is, foregoing solid foods for a period of time in lieu of freshly juiced fruit and vegetables.

Uhm, yeah. I'm not doing that.

I'm just taking these:

And making this:

I use a lot of citrus juice in my cooking-- a splash of lime here, a squirt of lemon there. Citrus is a great way to brighten up slow-cooked and stewed dishes, and it's an essential ingredient in homemade salad dressings. Sure, you can buy bottled juice at any grocery store. Most are made from juice concentrates, which means they don't quite taste fresh and may contain sweeteners or other preservatives. Plus, sometimes even the bottled juice is not as affordable as getting it from the source--especially at the tail end of winter citrus season (now).

You can use a manual citrus juicer or a citrus press if you've got strong hands and lots of patience. I have neither of those things, so I use an electric juicer like this one. More expensive models are available, but that one suits me fine.

Home-squeezed juice can be easily frozen as well. Try freezing tablespoon-portions in an ice cube tray for easy use, or freeze whole containers and just pull them out to defrost when your refrigerator supply is getting low.

My citrus haul got me 16oz of lime juice and 12oz of lemon juice (I left a few lemons and limes whole to use for other purposes). Not too shabby. So it seems to me that juicing like crazy is a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Sunday morning. Especially if it means there will be freshly squeezed lime juice for a Sunday morning cocktail. But, more to come on that later this week.

Now, what else can you do with all this fresh citrus?

If you want to reserve a few whole slices before juicing, you can dry them for use later in pepping up a glass of water or iced tea.

You can zest your citrus first and use it in baking recipes, or to flavor sugar.

With your spent lemon halves, do a little housecleaning and save yourself some elbow grease.

So, how do you like them lemons?

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