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Preserving Lemons

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2010

Lemons often become hard and dry before they get used. What are some tricks to preserve their juiciness?

First, start with the juiciest lemons you can find. Our shopping tests proved that thin-skinned lemons that yielded under pressure contain more juice than thick-skinned, rock-hard specimens, even when the lemons were nearly identical in size, shape, and weight.

As for storage, we tested three different methods both at room temperature and in the refrigerator: in an uncovered container, in a sealed zipper-lock bag, and in a sealed zipper-lock bag with ¼ cup water added. We recorded the fruits’ weights at the start and end of the experiment and then every few days to measure moisture loss.

All the lemons stored at room temperature hardened after a week. The refrigerated samples fared much better: The uncovered lemons (which we kept in the crisper drawer) began to lose a small amount of moisture after the first week and 5 percent of their weight in the following weeks; the lemons stored in zipper-lock bags, both with and without water, didn’t begin to dehydrate until four weeks had passed. As it turned out, the water wasn’t offering any preservation benefits, but the zipper-lock bag did seal in some moisture. For the juiciest, longest-lasting lemons, then, the best approach is to seal them in a zipper-lock bag and refrigerate.

LEMON LAW

To keep lemons fresh for weeks, refrigerate them in a zipper-lock bag.

Done in 281 ms! 61.385 KiB - 7.5% = 56.776 KiB