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Lemons are a citrus fruit, which means that they’re loaded with delicate, pulpy sacs containing flavorful liquid. The fruit explodes with sweetly tart, sour juice that matches the bright mood of its cheery, yellow color. Lemon has a quintessentially citric acidity, that’s far less sweet than an orange, but tastes sweeter than a lime. Lemons are only somewhat bitter, whereas limes’ bitter flavor is more pronounced.
These special fruits are eaten in countless ways, and used in bajillions of recipes for both food and drink. Ironically, they’re almost never eaten on their own without added ingredients!
It takes some work to coax a lemon from its peel. Lemons are soft fruits and the rind is pliable, but it doesn’t peel away as easily as other citrus fruits like oranges and clementines. The thin, yellow portion of the waxy skin of the lemon is edible, and is typically called “zest”, whether it’s grated or sliced away. The white pith and seeds are inedible and should be discarded. The juicy sections of individual lemon fruit can be eaten raw, although their sour flavor is used more as an ingredient than to be enjoyed on its own.
How to prepare your lemon will depend on the recipe you’re using. Here are the most common ways to prepare lemon for just about any recipe.
Here are some of the easiest, most common ways of how to slice a lemon:
- Slice a whole lemon lengthwise into thin or thick rounds. Add these to your water, top off chicken and fish filets before broiling, or caramelize them with kale.
- Cut the lemon into wedges with the peel on for an impressive presentation.
- Lengthwise, slice the lemon in half. Then, with the cut side down, slice the lemon into semi-circles.
- Learn how to slice supremes! Using a sharp paring knife, begin by slicing off both ends of the lemon. The slices should be thick enough to see just a small amount of fruit peeking through the pith. Then, stand the fruit up on one of the flat sides and carefully remove all of the remaining peel and pith from the sides. Finally, slice the fruit away from the skin of the individual sections. This will result in perfect supremes of lemon that can be added to desserts and other dishes.
Lemons are a cook’s best friend. They add instant acidity, brightness and freshness to any dish or beverage. Here are just a few popular ways to cook with lemons.
- Fermenting and preserving: Lemons are perfect for preserving and pickling, as in cuisines across North and East Africa, India and the Mediterranean.
- Baking: Lemon is among the most classic flavors for cakes, muffins, pies and tarts..
- Confection: Sweetly sour lemon is celebrated in candies, jams, jellies and sweet sauces.
- Sauces and Marinades: Lemon’s distinctly bright, sweet flavor and acidic properties add depth of flavor to rich sauces and gravies. When added to marinades, lemon’s acidity helps break down proteins to tenderize meats while imparting citrusy flavor to them.
Lemon juice has been making humanity’s drinks more delicious since ancient times. Whether squeezing life into sodas or puckering up a sweet tea, lemons are an ingredient in some of the world’s best drink recipes. Here are some easy ways use lemon in your drinks:
- Juicing: Lemon can be juiced in multiple ways. Try a classic, analog juice squeezing dish, a hand citrus press, or an electric juicer. If using a juicer, remove inedible the peel first. Then, simply feed the fruit into your juicer for a sweetly acidic juice. Lemon tastes amazing with an impossibly long list of fruit and vegetables like berries, apples, ginger, spinach and cucumber. Add lemon juice to teas, sodas and sweet fruit juices.
- Water: Add slices or a big squeeze of lemon to your water bottle along with fresh herbs like mint for an eye catching and delicious refresher. Mix up one part lemon juice with two parts each of water and simple syrup, and you have a basic lemonade recipe!
- Cocktails and soft drinks: Create a sweet lemon syrup, add a splash of pure juice or snuggle a slice onto the rim of your glass for a fragrant and fresh garnish.
Lemons can usually stay fresh on the countertop for just over a week. To prolong their freshness, place lemons in a sealed bag or container and store them in the refrigerator for a month or longer.
For the best of both worlds, store most of your lemons in the fridge, and a few on the counter. Lemons at room temperature are much easier to work with and release more juice.
Do you feel like a lemon eating expert now? Show us your favorite ways to eat and drink lemon by tagging us in your lemony masterpieces on Instagram @Fruitstandcom !