Shortcut: Lemon juice. April 6, 2014Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
Tags: cooking with citrus, Key lemon, Key lime, lemon juice
Silence Dogood here. So many recipes call for fresh-squeezed lemon juice. But fresh lemons don’t keep well, and unless you squeeze them through a sieve, the chances of getting seeds and pulp in your dish are about 99-1. If you do squeeze them through a sieve, it’s yet another utensil to wash, an added pain if you hand-wash your dishes as we do.
But there’s a reason recipes call for fresh-squeezed, which anyone who’s used prepared lemon juice from one of those lemon-shaped bottles can attest: That doesn’t taste like lemon juice! It tastes like some acid/chemical abomination. Eeeeewwww!!! Who’d want to put that in their food?!
Searching for a bottled lemon juice that tasted like lemon juice rather than a chemistry experiment, one that would keep effortlessly in the fridge and be ready whenever you needed it, for margaritas or guacamole or to brighten a salad dressing or some asparagus or broccoli or a soup or pasta or rice dish, finally led me to Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lemon Juice. I’ve been using their Key lime juice for years, as Key limes are never available in my area except in the highest-end grocery stores (all far from our rural home), and then only for a very short season. I’ve found that Nellie and Joe’s Key lime juice, while certainly not as good as fresh-squeezed Key limes, is way better than any other bottled lime juice and is ready for use at any time, in any season.
When I first saw that they were bottling lemon juice as well, I confess that I was skeptical. After all, Key limes are a specific type of lime; there’s no such thing as a “Key lemon.” Was the company just slapping an elite name on the usual chemical cocktail? Turns out, the answer is no, and the secret of this lemon juice’s delicious flavor is its comparative lack of acidity, its mildness, which lets the lemon flavor shine through without clutching your throat in a death grip. (This is why so many recipes call for lemon zest, the top, colored layer of lemon peel, which imparts lemon flavor to a dish without the bitterness of the white pith underneath.)
Both the Key lime and “Key lemon” juices are found bottled in the fruit juice aisles of our local groceries. See if your local grocery carries them, too, and if it does, check them out and see what you think! How wonderful to have such essential ingredients at hand whenever you need them, and to know that you can count on them for great taste.
‘Til next time,