How many times have you come across a recipe that says add The Juice of One Lemon? Ok, no problem except for the fact that lemons come in different sizes. Now what?
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Yes, I know most of the lemons at the grocery store all look alike. They may look alike on the outside but once you cut into a lemon you may find some have a big thick rind, or some have a super-thin rind. Either way, that impacts how much juice is inside.
Also if you buy produce at farmer’s markets you can find different varieties of lemons that range from small, medium, and large.
🍋 How much juice is in one lemon?
By food standards, there are approximately 2 tablespoons in one medium-sized lemon that weighs approximately 3.5 ounces, so basically if a recipe calls for the juice of one lemon that is what you should add. And, mostly this is the size of lemons sold in stores.
So if a recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of lemon juice you most likely will need two lemons to get the right amount of juice for your recipe.
These lemons below actually came from my two lemon trees. I have two varieties and each is remarkedly different in size.
My older tree produces little lemons with a very thin rind. I am always amazed when I cut these open on how much lemon is inside.
My new tree produces great big lemons and the rind on them is very thick and the actual amount of lemon inside seems very small.
Here is the difference between the two different lemons. The smaller lemon had 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of juice the other lemon had 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. So next time you need the juice of one lemon you may need two lemons to make sure you have enough juice to make the standard 2 tablespoon measurement.
To find out how many ounces of juice is in one lemon you can find that on the chart below.
If you want a lot of lemon juice this Ponderosa Lemon weighs two pounds and has two cups of lemon juice in it. Whew! If you are familiar with pomelos, this lemon is about that size. Cut one open and you will find lots of seeds, and the flavor and acidity of the smaller lemons. Since these types of lemons are not grown commercially and basically are found in backyards, you may never see how magnificent this lemon is.
Just imagine how much lemonade you can make with this big guy or how many lemon meringue pies this would make. A Lot!
How to juice a lemon
How you juice a lemon can make a difference in the amount of juice you get
- Keep your lemons at room temperature
- Before you juice a lemon, press, and roll the lemon between your hands or on a countertop this will soften the lemon and helps releases the juice.
- Try microwaving a lemon for 10 seconds before juicing for maximum juice.
- A citrus reamer or a juice press are the easiest tools to use to get the most juice out of a lemon. Just squeeze over a bowl and strain to remove the seeds.
- Hand squeezing the lemon is a quick way to juice a lemon without any tools, just squeeze hard on the cut lemon to get the juice out, then with your fingers, press the inside of the lemon to release more juice
- Another handy tool is the citrus reamer with a bowl. Here you can juice your lemons directly into a bowl that also strains out the pulp and seeds. This is very handy.
Lemon Juice Chart
This chart will help you determine how many teaspoons, tablespoons, and ounces are in one lemon.
Lots of recipes also use lemon zest. If the recipe calls for the zest of one lemon, that would mean using one medium-sized 3.5-ounce lemon that will yield approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
Lemon zest tip
My suggestion is when you need to juice a lemon, zest it first. Even if you don't need lemon zest right then you can freeze the zest and use it later.
Why add lemon zest to a recipe?
- Citrus zest has lots of essential oils that add strong citrus flavors.
- Adding zest to a recipe really infuses a bright lemon flavor to baked goods, both sweet and savory, salad dressings, creamy desserts, icings, and ice creams.
- Sprinkle lemon zest over finished desserts or even veggies adds a pretty yellow color plus flavor.
Essential tools for juicing and zesting lemons
For juicing you have several options depending on how much juicing you need to do. For juicing one or two lemons for a recipe I like using a wooden citrus reamer. This reamer is simple to use, clean, and stores easily. Another option for a handheld juicer is a metal citrus squeezer press. I prefer the metal types since I have broken several plastic ones.
Try these if you are juicing a lot of lemons. This manual tabletop citrus reamer has a bowl under the reamer to catch the juice and it separates the seeds and pulp, perfect for when you want a lot of juice. And, for lots of lemons go for the electric citrus juicer which is great for making lemonade or juicing lemons for freezing.
For zesting, you want to find the zester that works best for you. Also, replace these because they will become dull over time. I like using this Microplane zester because it allows you to put the zester over the top of a bowl and the zest falls out from the bottom side.
For making long strips of lemon peel for garnish use a channel knife/zester. This has sharp holes at one end that creates nice thin strips of citrus. Another zesting option is this flexible citrus zester that has a cup under the zester to catch the citrus zest. If you have young kids that like to cook this is a great option to keep little fingers safe.
- Lemon Ricotta Muffins are made with olive oil for a deliciously tender crumb and are delicious for breakfast or dessert.
- Lemon Bundt Cake has baked in lemon pieces that add some tanginess to this easy-to-make bundt cake.
- Lemon Baked Ricotta is one of the easiest appetizers that is full of fresh lemon flavors and savory herbs.
- Lemon Cookies with Frosting has lemon in the cookie and the frosting too because you can't have too much lemon flavor.
- Crispy Lemon Cookies are simple slice and bake shortbread cookies that are tender and perfectly lemony.
- Lemon Cake Pie, yes this is a cake and pie in one dessert and it is fantastic.
- Lemon Blueberry Scones bake up golden brown and are full of fresh fruits.
- Lemon Curd Cookies have a shortbread dough filled with fresh lemon curd.
- Do you know what tastes great with a lemon dessert...Frozen Lemonade, it's super refreshing.
Remember - When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Dessert
Look at the skins and pick a bright-colored glossy fruit that feels heavy when you pick it up. If there is any green on the lemon that means it's not fully ripened. Leathery-looking, dull-skinned fruits mean the lemon is old.
Lemons are best kept in the refrigerator and can last for three to four weeks. If you leave your lemons on the counter they will last a week to two weeks, depending on how warm the area is.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.