Monday, June 3, 2013

Fruit Salad with Lemony Whipped Cream (and a secret to super-stable whipped cream)

My friends from Good Cook challenged me with some lemon keepers.

Actually, there's a post coming about all of their keepers, but right now the challenge was specifically about the lemon keepers. They're big enough to hold a large lemon, but to be honest, I don't need to keep whole lemons in separate containers. They're fine rolling around in the vegetable bin.

But zested lemons are a whole other thing. Once they're zested, they go downhill fast. I usually put them in plastic bags, but I hate the idea of buying plastic bags that just get thrown away. So the lemon keepers make sense for zested  lemons.

And how often do you use a whole lemon? I mean, sure, there are some recipes where I might need a whole lemon, or even a couple lemons. But most of the time I need a few slices. Or half a lemon. And then I'm back to plastic bags again. And lemons getting squished in the vegetable bin.

Or, really, you can use these keepers for anything that fits in there. Because although they resemble lemons, there's no reason they couldn't be used for anything that fits in there. Right? Right.

So I started thinking about what I might use a lemon keeper for. Besides storing my zested lemons. Fruit was on my mind, and I decided that a fruit salad made sense.

Picture these things at a picnic or barbecue where you could have individual fruit salads ready. And covered. To keep the flying critters away.

And what goes good with fruit? How about some whipped cream flavored with lemon? Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

AND, this whipped cream has a secret ingredient that makes it much more stable, so you can make it well ahead of time, and it won't deflate.

AND the secret ingredient doesn't require any special handling. No heating, melting, or sifting. AND it doesn't add any discernible flavor.

Super Stable Lemony Whipped Cream

1/2 teaspoon instant pectin*
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine the pectin and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the heavy cream and stir. Let it sit for a minute, then whisk until you have a fluffy whipped cream.

If you like, you can use an electric mixer for whipping the cream but I like whipping cream by hand. I can feel how it's thickening, and I'm much less likely to over-whip and end up with butter.

Mix in the lemon zest during the last second of whipping. Use immediately or transfer to a container and keep chilled until needed.

*You will most likely find this with the canning supplies - it's used for thickening freezer jams that aren't cooked.

And now for some fruit salad - in lemon keepers.

I filled some lemon keepers with fresh fruit including pineapple, nectarine chunks, and lots of strawberries.

The whipped cream fit perfectly into another lemon keeper. Cute, huh? Wouldn't this be great for a picnic?

And then the partly zested lemon fit perfectly into another keeper. No more plastic bags and no more innocent citrus fruits getting squished in the vegetable bin.

What would you use a lemon keeper for?

Besides keeping lemons or fruits in the refrigerator, these would be handy for small servings of snacks you could take with you. The lid twists on, so it's pretty secure. They'd also be good for salt or your all-purpose spice mix that you keep on your counter.

Or ... put a battery-operated tealight in one to use as a decorative light. You're not going to read the newspaper by the light, but it looks pretty.

Good Cook provided the lemon keepers to me along with other keepers as part of the Kitchen Experts program. This post was not required.

Check out my giveaway HERE from Good Cook.