Is there anything more refreshing than a tall glass of chilled lemon juice on a hot summer day? We don’t think so!
While pure concentrated lemon juice is largely undrinkable because of its sourness, if you mix it with just the right ratio of water and sugar, it becomes something unworldly!
But how does one make lemon juice at home and what is the best way to make it?
How to make fresh lemon juice? Fresh lemon juice can be squeezed by hand or with the help of a mechanical juicer. Lemon juice drinks are all about the balance between sweet and sour. 3-4 juiced lemons with 1 teaspoon of sugar are the perfect proportions for a refreshing glass of lemon juice.
Many other ingredients can be added to change the way the juice tastes too!
Read below to learn more about how to make lemon juice, its benefits, the best ingredients to pair it with, and a full-proof recipe to make the perfect glass of lemon juice!
Lemon Juice And Its Benefits
Lemon juice is one of those ingredients that don’t require a formal reason. Just make it on the fly and have it whenever you want a quick refresher.
Lemon juice has been consumed by humans for centuries. It is used in several recipes and is an important ingredient in hundreds of beverages.
There is no clear indication of the origin of lemon-based drinks, after all, the basic juice is just a mixture of lemon, sugar, and water! So, it’s safe to assume that lemon juice has been around since the dawn of civilization!
Its commercialization, however, is fairly new.
Lemon juice is a big seller in North America and can be commonly found in every state. It is sold both in concentrated form for multi-purpose use and as a powdered drink too.
From Girl Scouts to big brands, everyone has an interest in selling lemon juice or lemonade!
The reason why lemon drinks are such a big hit is that they offer a refreshing and healthy kick thanks to the tanginess of lemons and the subtle and satisfying sweetness from sugar.
Pairing these ingredients with cold water makes one heck of a drink and is one of the best ways to beat the summer heat.
Commercial varieties of lemon juice are available in many flavors but since they are also loaded with preservatives and questionable chemicals to extend the shelf life of the product, you are better off having fresh lemon juice.
Trust us, ditching the commercial varieties is far better because you won’t be able to reap the benefits of real lemons!
Benefits Of Lemon Juice
A 100g balanced glass of lemon juice will provide you with a whopping 64% of your DV (Daily Value) of vitamin C and 103mg of potassium and about 7-10g of carbs.
A glass of lemon juice every day is recommended by many physicians as it aids the immune system and may even help prevent seasonal ailments like the common cold.
There have also been countless studies that suggest that lemon juice is great for boosting metabolism in humans. A glass of lemon juice taken every morning on an empty stomach has been shown to aid the digestive and immune systems.
It is important to note, however, that lemon juice is only as good as the ingredients added to it.
For example, a glass of lemon juice with loads of sugar, as is common with commercial varieties, will easily chip away all the benefits of this otherwise fantastic drink!
The best way to consume it is to keep the sugar to a minimum, or better yet, use an artificial sweetener of your choice to counteract the negative effects of excess processed sugar.
How To Make Fresh Lemon Juice
The key to making great lemon juice lies in the preparation.
While this is an easy drink to make, if you add just a bit of time and patience, it can be so much better!
To start, you will need large lemons. Many people prefer to use small-sized lemons for the concentrate.
While this is fine, it will result in you having to use more lemons, and smaller lemons are known to have a stronger and almost bitter flavor.
On the other hand, large lemons are known to have more juice and have a very balanced citrusy flavor.
You can also browse through the lemon varieties in the supermarket to find different types of lemons! The best ones for lemon juice are called Meyer lemons.
These particular lemons are larger and have a sweeter flavor than the usual variety.
They are also known for having a rounded and balanced aftertaste too and because their intensity is mild, you won’t end up adding more sugar to the mix as well!
Once you have the right lemons, wash them under the sink with room temperature water to clear off any dirt, and then slice the lemons in half.
Use a citrus juicer, or juice the lemons the old-fashioned way by squeezing each half under a fine mesh!
You can add pulp as per your requirement, however, many people like filtered lemon juice without pulp as it can cause minor throat irritation.
When you have juiced the lemons, you can either use the concentrate to make beverages or you can also freeze the concentrate for later use!
To freeze lemon juice, simply pour the lemon juice concentrate (with or without pulp) into an ice cube tray.
Cover with food-grade plastic and allow it to freeze at 0F. Use the cubes within a month for the best flavor!
Alternatively, you can directly make lemonade with the juice too:
For example, a 220ml glass will require about 2-3 large lemons (we’ll share exact quantities below). You can adjust the taste of the lemons by either lessening or increasing the quantity of lemon concentrate.
Also, some people add artificial lemon flavors to further increase the intensity of the lemons and to add a commercial taste to the beverage, but this is entirely up to you!
Once the lemons have been juiced, you will have two options:
- Use sugar to sweeten the drink.
- Use artificial sweeteners or liquid sweeteners to change the flavor of the drink.
If you choose to use sugar then you will need to first dissolve the sugar crystals in hot water before adding the mixture to the glass. This is an important step as you wouldn’t want to bite down on sugar while drinking lemon juice.
Alternatively, you can also use liquid stevia or powdered sweeteners to make the drink.
An advantage of using liquid sweeteners is that you won’t need to heat the liquid or wait for it to dissolve. Just add cold water to the concentrate and a few drops of liquid stevia! That’s it!
Using Additional Ingredients
Lemon juice is highly versatile and its flavor can complement a range of different ingredients and can add a whole new touch to your beverage too.
For example, lemon juice can be added to carbonated soft drinks like Sprite to give it an even more refreshing and delicious flavor. You can similarly try adding lemon juice with other types of beverages as well.
Lemon juice can also be paired with herbs! We recommend trying a crushed mint lemonade (listed below) with lemon juice for a revitalizing and cooling drink.
Lemon juice is also paired with rose petals and other types of herby syrups. It is said to increase their nutritional profile, add a cooling effect, and aid in digestion too.
For the most basic beverage, a simple pairing of lemon juice with cold water, without sugar, is also known to be an excellent morning detoxifying drink!
Tips and Tricks
- Lemon juice is best used fresh but you can also store it in the fridge for about 3-4 days. The reason why it doesn’t remain fresh is that it oxidizes as soon as the juice is extracted from the lemons. Brands use preservatives and other chemicals to stabilize and increase the shelf-life of lemon products but, again, the best way to get all of its natural benefits is to use fresh juice! Alternatively, you can freeze lemon juice and store it in the freezer for months!
- Always use a plastic cutting board when working with lemon juice. Since the juice is mildly acidic, it will likely stain marble countertops and may prove to be a hassle to clean if you get it on utensils and your hands.
- Never heat lemon juice as it destroys its flavor and may even impact its nutritional profile. The best way to use the juice is in cold beverages or warm water or drinks. Don’t worry about adding lemon juice to a cup of green tea – just don’t boil the juice with the tea leaves!
- Always opt for fresh and healthy-looking lemons for the best results. Lemons can dry up, which gives them a light brown color on the outside. This may result in the juice being dried on the inside as well.
- There is an exaggerated belief that people think that lemon juice is an effective antibacterial, hence it is unable to go bad. This is false! While lemon juice does inhibit the growth of some bacteria owing to its acidity, it can very well be compromised and grow mold and become contaminated. Always check the lemons before juicing them!
Great Recipes For Lemon Juice
Here are a few great ways to use lemon juice in beverages!
- 3/4th cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 cup lemon juice
- Juice the lemon either by hand or using a juicer and separate the pulp (if required)
- In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in 1 cup of water and turn off the heat. Do not boil the water, you just need to heat it enough to dissolve the sugar crystals.
- Add the simple sugar syrup, lemon juice, and cold water in one glass and mix well. You can adjust the quantity of each ingredient as per your liking.
- Serve cold and enjoy!
- Mint leaves 1 cup
- Sugar ½ cup or to taste
- Lemon juice ½ cup
- Water 3-4 cups
- Ice cubes
- Use lemon juice concentrate either in the form of frozen lemon juice ice cubes or fresh lemon juice.
- In a blender, add everything together and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
- Taste the mixture and adjust the ingredients accordingly. Serve in a rounded glass and enjoy!
- Coconut, small chunks 8-10
- Sugar 3-4 tbs or to taste
- Lemon juice 2 tbs
- Coconut water 3 cups
- Ice cubes
- Add coconut, sugar, coconut water, ice cubes, and lemon juice. Blend until everything comes together.
- Serve cold with a mint leaf as garnish!
- Pineapple slices, 3-4
- Sugar ½ cup or to taste
- Pineapple juice ½ cup
- Lemon juice 3-4 tbs
- Water 3-4 cups
- Ice cubes
- Use lemon juice concentrate. You can either go for a concentrated commercial lemon juice product or freshly squeeze the lemons at home.
- Blend the pineapple slices, pineapple juice, sugar, lemon juice, and, water.
- Taste the mixture and adjust the ingredients accordingly.
Lemon juice is a wonderful ingredient in lots of recipes.
From meals to beverages, the versatility of lemon juice knows no bounds! Now that you know how to juice lemons and how to get the most out of their flavor, here are a few related questions!
Is lemon zest the same as lemon juice?
No. Lemon zest and lemon juice are different.
Lemon zest is the outer skin of the lemon. The skin can be shredded and added as a garnish in several beverages.
The zest (lemon skin shavings) provides a calming and pleasant lemon scent and a pronounced tangy or bitter flavor, depending on the type of lemon.
Can you blend lemons?
Yes, you can blend lemons but the end product would be largely unusable. The hard skin of lemons is tangy and a bit bitter and would not make for a good addition to any recipe.
However, you can peel the skin and blend the lemons whole, with or without removing the seeds.
Can you juice any type of lemon?
Yes, you can juice any type of lemon and you can even mix different varieties of lemons for more or less the same result.
For example, smaller lemons are known for their stronger and tangier flavor while the big ones may have a very tamed flavor.
All varieties can be mixed as required and used in different recipes.
How much juice is there in one lemon?
Medium-sized lemons will provide you with about 2-3 tablespoons of juice per lemon. However, larger varieties can yield even more juice.
Usually, recipe cards will indicate how much lemon or lemon juice is required with the suggested size as well. If not mentioned, then just use a medium lemon.
You can also use a commercial lemon-concentrate product. Check the back of the bottle to see how much concentrate you would require to equate one whole lemon.
Up Next: How Long To Boil Chicken Legs