ZESTY CITRUS FLAVOR CUBES (mini muffins)
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I love to create flavor cubes (mini muffins)! And…so here’s my latest flavor cube creation – one that will do three good things for you:
- Add a lovely citrus flavor to your tea.
- Instantly bring the temperature of the water you boiled (for making your tea) down to a reasonable temperature for steeping green tea (about 160 degrees F). For more on making green tea at the best temperature to avoid the bitter flavor, see Monamifood Green Tea – Part I and Part II.
- Increase your body’s ability to absorb the healthy components of green tea as explained at Monamifood Green Tea & Citrus.
8 medium size organic oranges
- Why oranges and other citrus fruits? How do they help to prevent cancer?
- I used organic oranges so that the peel would be pesticide free.
- Eight oranges was enough for me to make 12 ice cubes (in an ice cube tray) AND 12 mini muffins (“cubes”) in a silicone mini muffin pan.
- Wash the organic oranges and rub them dry.
- Use a microplane (for food) to zest the oranges. Collect the zest on a plate or on a small piece of waxed paper.
- Tip for using a microplane to zest oranges or lemons: Cut each orange or lemon in half; lay the cut side down on the cutting board. Holding the cut half at the top with a few fingers of one hand, press down. Holding the microplane in the other hand, zest the fruit. (I find that zesting in this way makes it hard for me to zest my own skin!)
- When you have removed the zest from all of the oranges, cut each orange in half (horizontally) and juice each half.
- I used an electric citrus juicer that that I bought years ago for no more than $25. But you could juice the oranges by hand if you like.
Pour the orange juice into the ice cube compartments of the ice cube tray or into the mini muffin compartments of the silicone mini muffin pan.
- Note: Since the silicone mini muffin pan is very flexible, be sure to put a piece of cardboard or another firm support underneath the pan so that you can hold onto the cardboard when you move the pan and then slide the pan off the cardboard into the freezer.
Sprinkle a little orange zest into each of the compartments that you already filled with orange juice. (Use up all of the zest.)
Put your filled ice cube tray or mini muffin pan into the freezer.
When frozen, remove your ZESTY CITRUS FLAVOR CUBES (or mini muffins) from the freezer; let them sit out at room temperature for a minute or so (to slightly defrost around the edges). Then pop them out of the muffin pan and into a plastic bag designed for the freezer. Store in the freezer for use the next time you make a cup of tea, a salad dressing, or anything that could use a little citrus tang!
Of course, organic lemon, lime and tangerine peels mixed with lemon, lime and tangerine juices would work great too.
Or, if you like, freeze the citrus juice in the mini muffin pan without the peel and freeze the peel separately in wax paper (like in an enevelope). Then whenever you want some fresh lemon juice just defrost one of your lemon juice flavor “cubes” and when you want a hint of citrus zest in a receipe, just sprinkle on some of the zest you’ve previously frozen.
When the slightly sweeter and very juicy Meyer Lemons are in season (check your local area for the season), you might want to stock up on them and make Meyer Lemon flavor “cubes” to use throughout the year. I was reminded of this last night by my foodie friend Claire who just got back from Price Costco with a boatload of Meyer Lemons that’s she’s planning to juice. Next year when these lovely lemons are in season, I’ll do the same.
Unfortunately, most stores do not carry organic Meyer Lemons. But you can mail order organic Meyer Lemons from the Lemon Ladies.
Besides tea, you can also use these Zesty Citrus Flavor Cubes in lots of other dishes. Why not try…
- Tossing a few into your wok (instead of chicken broth) when making a Chinese stir-fry.
- Adding them to soups. The lemon/lemon zest cubes would be great in chicken soups; the orange/orange zest ones would be wonderful in squash soups.
- Adding them to the mix of ingredients for smoothies.
- I’m sure there are plenty of other ways you will find to use these handy dandy cubes! I hope you’ll share your ideas in a comment or two!
Enjoy and be healthy,