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How to Choose the right Lemon for your Recipe

With uses from lemonade to cleaning supplies, the lemon is one of the most versatile fruits to have in the home. For its use in cooking recipes, the choice of which lemon to use won’t “make or break” your recipe. However, using the best lemon for your dish can make it more savory to the palate.

There are a few different kinds of lemons. The easiest one to discern is the Meyer Lemon because of its orange tint color. These lemons are sweeter and slightly smaller than most lemons. They are not sold on a large scale because they are more fragile than other lemons and harder to store for distribution commercially. Meyer lemons serve well in dessert recipes, cocktails, certain potato salads, and even ice cream. If you need a little less “tart” in your recipe and can access Meyer lemons, they may be a good choice.

Eureka lemons have bright yellow skins that are very thick and usually quite pitted. They have a moderate amount of juice and are commercially distributed for easy access. Eureka lemons do have seeds and are best used in drinks or recipes that call for cutting, sectioning or zesting. They can be used in any recipe, however, after removing the seeds. Because of their thicker skin, more of the Eureka lemons will be needed to make lemonade or lemon drinks. Your best lemons for lemonade will be the Lisbon or the Meyer lemons.

The Lisbon lemons have little or no seeds and work well with lemonade recipes and as a “spritz” to seafood recipes. Rolling a lemon between your hands or on a counter top before cutting will help loosen the juices, which can also be used to preserve vegetable coloring and tenderize meats when used in marinades. Lisbon and Eureka lemons are both very yellow and have a high lemon aroma.

For cooking recipes, Lisbon and Eureka lemons are most readily available and can be used successfully. If your recipe is for a dessert or calls for a sweeter lemon, and you have access to a Meyer lemon, by all means use one. Any lemon can be used with most recipes, remembering that sweeter is Meyer, zestier is Eureka, and juicier is Lisbon.

But main-meal cooking recipes aren’t the only ones that use lemons! Lemons are used in preparation of sauces, of teas to sooth the throat, medicinal products to help fight off flu and colds, and for general good health as a great source of Vitamin C.

Due to their acidity, lemons are also a great addition to many cleaning products, beauty products, bleaching and stain removal products and even hand cleaners!

So next time someone says to you, “When you get lemons”, remember you can use them for much more than lemonade and make yourself healthier in doing so!