Frozen Lemons Are the No. 1 Inflammation-Fighting Ingredient Your Morning Smoothies Are Missing

Photo: Stocksy/ Pixel Stories
Although enjoying a big ol’ pitcher of lemonade is pretty much the epitome of summertime vibes, the truth is that citrus season is just getting started. Shocking, I know: It peaks smack dab in the middle of winter.

Indeed, most lemon varieties are available year-round; however, if you’re looking to get your hands on those deliciously sweet Meyer lemons at their peak freshness, December through May will likely be your best bet. However, if you’re well-acquainted with the top tricks for keeping lemon fresh, you already know that freezing them is by far the best way to squeeze (pun intended) the most life out of them—and enjoy them well past spring. What's more, frozen lemons (yep, we’re talking the whole darn thing: pith, zest, and pulp) are also packed with anti-inflammatory benefits and make for the perfect mix-in to brighten up your everyday smoothie-making routine.

Did we lose you at "entire lemon?" Don't go sour on us just yet! Ahead, we make a case for celebrating every inch of your citrus, and share some of the best frozen lemon smoothie recipes that will add endless zest to your life.

What are the benefits of consuming whole lemons?

Dietitians confirm that lemons are rich in nutritional perks. For starters, they're a potent source of essential vitamins and nutrients, containing about 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C per lemon (or roughly 35 milligrams of the vitamin per fruit). As such, the powerful antioxidants found in lemons help boost immune function and fight against free radical damage. That said, while lemon juice has a bevy of benefits, it may behoove us all to pay closer attention to the often-forgotten lemon peels. In fact, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by tossing them out.

According to dietitians, lemon peels contain calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and some fiber. What’s more, research shows that lemon peels can have cardiovascular benefits, including potentially reducing blood pressure levels. "Some studies indicate that limonene and the other flavonoids in lemon rind are directly linked to preventing the formation and spread of cancerous tumors, particularly, cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and stomach," registered dietitian Katherine Brooking, RD says. Lemon peels—albeit potent—are sure sounding more and more enticing now, right?

How to make frozen lemons

Although lemons don’t spoil as quickly as, say, berries, freezing them can help prolong their shelf life. If pressed for time, freezing ‘em whole will do the trick. However, we’ve found that slicing them into pieces before tossing them in the freezer is much more practical for everyday use.

To do so, simply slice the fruit as you’d like—we recommend small wedges—and lay them flat without touching one another on a parchment-lined baking sheet before transferring them to the freezer. Once fully frozen, collect the piece and store them in a freezer-safe container before returning them to the freezer. Get this: You can also simply freeze the lemon peels on their own, as demonstrated in this recent TikTok video by @sunkistcitrus.

@sunkistcitrus Citrus doesn’t just go far on your plates; it can last for weeks with the right tips and tricks. #sunkistcitrus ♬ Sunshine - WIRA

3 anti-inflammatory frozen lemon smoothie recipes 

blueberry frozen lemons smoothie
Photo: Ambitious Kitchen

1. Lemon Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberries, a banana, lemons (juice and zest), almond extract, and dairy-free milk are all you need to make this simple five-ingredient lemon blueberry smoothie recipe by Ambitious Kitchen. Best part? It’s packed with more than one source of potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants (hi, rock star blueberries). Want to make things even easier, especially when finding the time to make a smoothie before you run out the door is nearly impossible? Throw it all in the BlendQuik Portable Blender, for a delicious smoothie on the go. (BTW, it’s spill-proof and drinkable directly from the cup, err, blender.) No mess and no stress.

Get the recipe: Lemon Blueberry Smoothie

creamy frozen lemons smoothie
Photo: Eating by Elaine

2. Creamy Vegan Lemon Smoothie

This creamy vegan lemon smoothie by Eating by Elaine, calls for two large juicy lemons (juiced and zested or frozen wedges, obvi), along with a few other protein-and fiber-rich ingredients, like Medjool dates and blanched almonds. The drink also offers a medley of optional smoothie booster options, including anti-inflammatory turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids-rich chia and/or hemp seeds. Plus, according to the recipe developer, “it's made to wake you up with a smile!”

Get the recipe: Creamy Vegan Lemon Smoothie

frozen lemon smoothie with veggies
Photo: Eating Bird Food

3. Hidden-Veggie Lemon Smoothie

Looking to sneak in an extra serving of veggies? This easy lemon smoothie recipe by Eating Bird Food is made with a somewhat surprising secret ingredient: cauliflower. Thankfully, due to the mild-tasting nature of this veggie, it goes completely unnoticed in the final product and is overpowered by other (tastier-for-a-smoothie) ingredients, such as turmeric, fresh ginger, and lemon.

Get the recipe: Lemon Smoothie

Discover how to make a zero-waste lemon popsicle recipe:

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Kato Y, Domoto T, Hiramitsu M, Katagiri T, Sato K, Miyake Y, Aoi S, Ishihara K, Ikeda H, Umei N, Takigawa A, Harada T. Effect on blood pressure of daily lemon ingestion and walking. J Nutr Metab. 2014;2014:912684. doi: 10.1155/2014/912684. Epub 2014 Apr 10. PMID: 24818015; PMCID: PMC4003767.
  2. Wang L, Wang J, Fang L, Zheng Z, Zhi D, Wang S, Li S, Ho CT, Zhao H. Anticancer activities of citrus peel polymethoxyflavones related to angiogenesis and others. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:453972. doi: 10.1155/2014/453972. Epub 2014 Aug 28. PMID: 25250322; PMCID: PMC4163462.

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