Sunny yellow lemons perk up almost everything with their bright, acidic flavor.
How to Choose Lemons
A ripe lemon has a bright yellow (no green), unwrinkled skin and feels firm and heavy for its size. Thin-skinned lemons tend to have more juice; soft lemons are old. The fragrant, mildly tart Meyer lemon has a more golden peel, and its juice has hints of sweet lime and mandarin, making it a winner for curds and cakes.
How to Store Lemons
A lemon will last for 2 days at room temperature but is best kept in the refrigerator, where it will be good for up to 3 weeks. Lemon zest—the grated or scraped skin, used to add a burst of flavor to foods—is best used immediately, before the intense volatile oils dissipate. If you’ve zested a lemon, squeeze it and use the juice within 2 days—or freeze the juice for later use. (Squeeze cut lemons into an ice cube tray, freeze, then transfer cubes to a bag or airtight container.)
How to Prepare Lemons
To get more juice from a lemon, first roll it on a countertop, applying some pressure, or warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds. If you’re using both zest and juice, zest the lemon first.
How To: Zest CitrusHow to zest citrus like a pro: Grating the outer peel of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits releases concentrated flavors. This video shows how to zest citrus—a little zest goes a long way.
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