People use lemons to make lemonade by mixing lemon juice and water. Many people also use lemon as a washing agent, because of its ability to remove stains. The scent of lemons can also repel mosquitoes, while drinking lemon juice with olive oil helps to get rid of gall stones. Lemon is well known for its medicinal power and is used in many different ways.

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Buy it

The juiciest lemons and limes are always going to be the ones that give a little when you squeeze them. These softer citrus fruits will have less pith, and therefore more juice, than their less-pliant companions. They're also much easier to juice and use in cooking or baking.

Select lemons that are bright yellow in color and have a shine to their skin. Choose those that are as thin-skinned as possible and heavy for their size, because they will produce the most juice. Avoid lemons that have any green tinged areas, which is an indication that the lemons are not fully ripe and will be more acidic. Also avoid dull pale colored lemons and those with blemishes, soft or hard spots and shriveled skin, which are all signs of over mature fruit. Over mature lemons lose their acidity and begin to dry, producing less juice.

Add it

When cooking with lemon juice, if possible, add it at the end of the cooking time or after the dish has been cooked to minimize or prevent the loss of vitamin C. When cooking fresh vegetables, squeeze lemon juice on them to keep their colors bright. Prevent browning of fresh cut fruits and vegetables by dipping into a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or by brushing fruits and vegetables with lemon juice. Cut down on the amount of salt used on your food by adding lemon instead to enhance the flavor of the food.

For fluffier rice, add lemon juice to the cooking water. Lemon juice can be used as a marinade to tenderize meat. Use lemon juice in place of vinegar in salad dressings.

Prep it

To extract the maximum amount of juice, make sure the lemons are at room temperature, and firmly roll them back and forth under your palm a couple of times - that helps to break down some of the flesh's fibers.

Alternatively, microwave lemons for around 30 seconds, depending on the size of the lemon - warming them up helps them give up more juice.

At home, store them in plastic pouch and place inside the refrigerator where they keep well for up to a week. Store freshly squeezed lemon juice inside the freezer compartment for later use. Store dried zest in cool, dry place in an air-tight glass container away from moisture.

Try it tonight

Laura McIntosh