Lemon, scientifically known as Citrus limon, is a small, oval-shaped citrus fruit that boasts a vibrant yellow color and a tangy taste. Hailing from the Rutaceae family, these low-calorie fruits are packed with essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and calcium, making it a go-to ingredient for various culinary and non-culinary purposes.
In the culinary world, lemons are valued for their sharp, sour flavor and intense aroma, livening up various dishes, desserts, and beverages. Its juice, zest, and pulp find their way into numerous recipes, while the oil derived from its peel is used in various household products, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.
Lemons are a common, but oftentimes overlooked, element in many recipes. People tend to get confused on how to extract the most juice, when to add lemon to dishes, and the interchangeable use of its zest and juice. Some people go wrong by overheating lemon juice, which could lose its vibrant flavor. A great tip is to apply moderate pressure and roll the lemon on a flat surface before juicing – this will break down the inner segments and allow for maximum juice extraction. Besides, the yellow zest is very aromatic and flavorful and can be used to add flavor to various dishes and desserts.
A less-known trick is that you can freeze a lemon and grate it later to use it in your dishes. This way, you can use both its juice and the aromatic zest. Also, placing a few slices of lemon in the dishwasher before running it can help to freshen and remove odors.
How can I juice a lemon without a juicer?
Should I add lemon juice to my dish while cooking or after cooking?
Can I use lemon juice instead of lemon zest in recipes?
How can I prevent my lemon slices from turning bitter?
What can I substitute for lemon in a recipe?
Why is my lemonade bitter?
Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice?
Can I use lemon to clean my kitchen?
Is lemon good for my skin?
What's the best way to store leftover lemons?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does lemon expire?
Unopened and stored at room temperature, lemons typically last 1-2 weeks depending on their freshness at purchase time. If you choose to store them in the refrigerator, they can last anywhere from 2 to 3 months. Once a lemon has been cut open, it's best to consume it within a week if you keep it in the refrigerator. Freezing isn't typically a go-to storage method for lemons, but if you did choose to freeze slices or juice, they can last up to 4 months. Lemon juice that has been opened and refrigerated should be used within 2-3 days for best quality and taste.
How do you tell if lemon is bad?
Examining the physical state of a lemon is a clear way to tell if it's gone bad. Lemons that are past their prime typically develop soft spots and a dull, wrinkle-filled skin. Any visible mold or a hard, shriveled texture are signs that a lemon is no longer good to use. Additionally, if it has a sour or off-putting smell, it's time to discard it. For lemon juice, discoloration or a sour smell will indicate that it's turned bad.
Tips for storing lemon to extend shelf life
• Store uncut lemons in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for general room temperature storage.
• For a longer shelf life, place them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
• Once you've cut a lemon, it's best to wrap it tightly in cling film or place it in an airtight container before refrigerating to keep its moisture and prevent it from absorbing odors from other foods.
• If you have excess lemons, consider juicing them or cutting them into slices and freezing. This way, you always have fresh lemon juice or slices ready to use in recipes.
• Never store lemons or any citrus fruits in a metalllic container as the acid can interact with the metal, altering the taste and discoloring the container.