Lemons most times are a fruit ignored by many just because of its sour taste which leaves them in ignorance of their actual value to human health.
Put this zesty citrus fruit to good use with these unexpected tricks that take some of the hassle out of cooking.
You know that lemons add a delicious, citrusy kick to everything from salad dressings to cocktails. And you may have heard about their impressive health benefits — lemons contain antibacterial properties and may strengthen your immune system, says Priya Lawrence, RD, cofounder of Tried and True Nutrition in New York City. Lemons also offer a hefty dose of vitamin C and other antioxidants that can fight free radicals and may help keep you looking and feeling younger.
But lemons also have some unexpected uses, too. Here are seven ways this handy fruit can solve your trickiest kitchen dilemmas and help enhance your meals:
1. Lemon Juice Prevents Your Fruits and Vegetables From Turning Brown
A few squeezes of juice can do wonders for avocados, apples, bananas, and peeled raw potatoes, since lemon juice is just acidic enough to prevent the oxidation that turns produce brown. Try this trick the next time you’re doing meal prep ahead of time or when you set out a platter of fresh sliced fruit.
2. Lemon Juice Helps You Avoid Sticky Rice
Have a problem with clumpy rice? You’re in luck — adding a few drops of lemon juice to your cooking water helps prevent the rice from sticking together. Try this tip with our Healthy Fried Rice recipe.
3. Lemon Peel Keeps Brown Sugar Soft — and Saves You the Sifting
The juice isn’t the only useful part of the lemon; its super moist and flavorful peel can work wonders in the kitchen, too. Add a slice of the skin (with the pulp completely removed) to your box of brown sugar to keep it from clumping and hardening. This way, you won’t have to do any sifting the next time you make our Healthified Peanut Butter Cookies.
4. Lemon Juice Makes Your Lettuce Crispy All Over Again
No need to toss that limp lettuce! A little lemon juice and water can help bring your leaves back to life. To crisp up limp leaves, soak them in a bowl of cold water and ½ cup of lemon juice, then refrigerate for about an hour. The leaves will come out revived and ready for eating. See this trick in action when you make our Healthified Layered Vegetable Salad.
5. Lemon Juice Helps You Cook Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs
Even if you’ve mastered perfectly hard-boiled eggs, try brushing the eggshells with lemon juice before adding them to the pot for a little added insurance. The lemon juice helps keep the shells from cracking while they cook, and it also makes them easier to peel once they’re ready to eat. Try this technique before you enjoy the eggs in our Bibimbap Deviled Eggs Recipe.
6. Lemon Juice Tenderizes Meat and Makes It Even Tastier
Lemon juice is a great meat tenderizer; the acidity gently breaks down the protein fibers in meat, leaving it scrumptiously fork-tender. Taste the difference when you make our Steak With Citrus Mushroom Sauce.
7. Lemon Juice Enhances the Flavor of Your Food — No Need to Add Salt
A little bit of lemon can totally transform a meal, brightening up creamier dishes and balancing the flavor in seafood. It also provides a great sodium-free substitute for salt, says Lawrence. This is perfect for those with high blood pressure and anyone looking to cook healthier dishes without sacrificing flavor. Squeeze lemons over our Mediterranean Baked Fish or our Broiled Steak and Asparagus With Feta Cream Sauce.