Lemons are such a versatile fruit. They can be used to marinate meats, yet are a favorite dessert flavor. Read on for more tips for working with lemons. And remember that lemons can be used for desserts, and also for savory dishes such as roast chicken.
Get the Most Out of Lemons
- When purchasing lemons, look for fruit that feels heavy for its size, with bright shiny skin and small points on each end. Don't buy lightweight lemons–they will be dry.
- To store lemons for up to a month, rinse them in water dry them thoroughly using paper towels, and store in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Once a lemon is cut, it must be used within a few days, or you can freeze it.
- To get the most juice from lemons, first prick the skin with a fork, then place in the microwave oven for 15 to 20 seconds. This action helps break down the cells and membranes in the fruit, so more juice can be squeezed.
- When peeling lemons, you're removing the zest or colored part of the skin. This is the part that has the most oils, so has the most flavor. Use a microplane grater with tiny holes, or a lemon zester, which has small loops of wire to cut through the skin without reaching the pith underneath. Be sure to remove only the colored part of the skin; the white pith is bitter.
- Squeeze the lemons over a sieve or colander to remove the seeds. Squeezing the lemons by hand upright over a bowl really doesn't keep the seeds out of the food. The little seeds can easily escape over the top of the lemon halves.
- If you only need a little bit of lemon juice, pierce the lemon with a skewer or toothpick and squeeze out the amount you want. Then rinse the lemon with water, dry it, and place it back in the plastic bag in the refrigerator.