Tips for getting the most flavor — and juice — out of lemon

Fresh lemon — including the juice and the peel — is one of my all-time favorite ingredients, in part because it’s just so versatile. Creamsicle smoothie recipe orange juice It can be the star of the show (as in this recipe) or a brilliant supporting actor (as in so many of my everyday dishes). Orange juice balls recipe today show It’s indispensable in fish dishes and pairs beautifully with all sorts of vegetables, raw and cooked. Smoothie recipe with yogurt and orange juice I also reach for it regularly to brighten up soups, stews and sautes.

The great thing about lemon peel, also known as the zest, is that it adds intense lemon flavor to a recipe without all the acid that is found in the juice. Carrot lemon juice recipe I use grated lemon zest in scrambled eggs and creamy pasta dishes and combine it with chopped herbs as a finishing touch for braised meats.

Whichever parts you use, it’s important to start with the best possible lemons. Beet carrot juice recipe The winning candidates will boast a bright yellow color and a thin skin. Apple beetroot carrot juice recipe A thin skin signals more juice and less pith (the bitter-tasting white layer between the peel and the fruit itself). Beetroot carrot tomato juice recipe When grating the peel, you want to stop short of the pith. Beet juice recipe blender How do you know a given specimen has a thin skin? It will give a little when you squeeze it.

Once home with your lemons, scrub each one lightly under water to remove the edible wax with which it was covered to protect the fruit on its journey to the market. Peach mango juice recipe If your recipe calls for zest and juice, grate the zest before you juice the lemon. Peach mango e juice recipe But don’t grate the zest until just before you’re ready to add it to the recipe. Mango apple smoothie recipe Zest quickly dries out and loses its oomph if it sits around for very long.

My favorite tool for grating zest is a wand-style grater. Beetroot juice recipe for glowing skin Once upon a time, the tool of choice was the fine side of a four-sided grater. Beetroot juice recipe cancer Unfortunately, this gadget often grabbed too much of the pith — not to mention the tips of your fingers — in the process. Beetroot juice recipe high blood pressure I do my grating over a piece of kitchen parchment, which allows me to pick up and measure the zest easily. Beetroot juice recipe indian The yield is roughly 1 tablespoon of zest per large lemon. Green juice juicer recipe If your recipe calls for zest but not juice, wrap the unused lemon in plastic wrap when you’re done and do your best to use it up within a few days. How to make homemade orange juice recipe A lemon stripped of its protective layer of zest dries out pretty quickly.

There are several ways to make sure you squeeze the maximum amount of juice from your lemon. Green juice juicer recipes First, soften up the fruit by rolling it on the counter and pressing down as you do. Apple pie with orange juice recipe Second, heat it, either by microwaving it for 20 seconds or so or by stashing it in the oven at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Apple and orange juice recipe Finally, cut the lemon in half crosswise and juice it.

I like to juice using an old-fashioned and brightly colored Mexican hand press. Apple crisp with orange juice recipe But there’s also a more unorthodox, if equally effective, way to do it. Banana bread with orange juice recipe Place the cut lemon half in between the two arms of a set of tongs, right at the top where the arms are joined. Orange juice recipe for juicer Then squeeze the bottom ends together. Pineapple and orange juice recipe I learned this little trick from Ming Tsai, who picked it up from Jasper White, two of my favorite chefs. Orange juice chicken breast recipes One large lemon will give up about 1/4 cup of juice.

These muffins are quite rich, better suited to dessert than breakfast (though they would indeed be a delightful morning splurge on a special occasion). Top shelf margarita recipe with orange juice Made with juice and zest, their deep lemon flavor is complemented by the raspberries.

Heat the oven to 325 F. Green juice cleanse recipe Line a cupcake tin with 8 paper cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Green juice recipe blender In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Recipe orange juice punch Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Chicken marinated in orange juice recipe Add half the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Chicken with orange juice recipe Beat in the cream and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Mango and orange juice recipe Add the remaining flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them halfway. Whiskey sour with orange juice recipe Press 4 raspberries gently into the center of the batter in each cup, then top with more batter, filling the cups just up to the tops of the liners. Healthy green juice recipe blender Bake the cupcakes on the oven’s center shelf until golden on top and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Green juice recipe in blender Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the glaze. 10 day green juice cleanse recipes In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and remaining lemon juice until smooth. Strawberry and orange juice smoothie recipe When the cupcakes are cooled, drizzle the glaze over each cake.

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 150 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (10 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 120 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 20 g sugar; 4 g protein.

Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “Home Cooking 101.”

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