Choose The Heftiest Lemons At The Grocery Store For The Juiciest Results

When shopping for fruit and vegetables you are no doubt on the lookout for the freshest and juiciest produce available. This theory certainly applies when it comes to lemons. While they might not be a fruit enjoyed raw like apples or watermelon, you still want your lemons full of zesty juice that you can use to season your fish, garnish a salad, or turn into lemonade. That's why picking the largest lemons is your best bet. 

It might seem obvious, but when shopping for lemons in your local grocery store or farmers market, you should always go for the largest and heaviest. The reason for this is that lemons with a little heft to them are generally juicier. Heaviness is also a sign that the lemon you are holding is ripe and ready for picking, but there are also a number of other signs that a lemon is chock full of tangy goodness. 

Other ways to spot a good lemon

While the heftiness of a lemon is the easiest way to test how juicy the fruit will be, there are several other methods you can use when it comes to spotting fresh lemons. Checking the skin's texture and color is another easy suggestion. If the skin is bumpy, then the lemon hasn't fully matured and is best put back on the shelf while a smooth lemon is ripe for the picking and full of juice. Next, take a look at the color. The darker the yellow the riper and juicer it is going to be. Even the merest hint of green means that your lemons will not be ripe. Lastly, give the fruit a subtle squeeze with your hand, as lemons that are slightly soft are more often than not full of juice. 

Now it gets interesting: If you want a lemon for its zest and not necessarily its juice, look for one that has a few lumps and the skin feels thick rather than smooth and thin. Of course, you want it to still be a deep yellow with no green in sight.

How to use ripe lemons before they go bad

Now that you know how to pick ripe, juicy lemons, you want to make sure you get the most out of them before they go bad. The good news is lemons generally last between one and two weeks when you store them in the fridge. Even if you leave them on the counter, so long as it doesn't get too hot, you can expect them to last about a week.

Lemons make for a great garnish and can be added to salad dressings, marinades, squeezed over fresh fish, or mixed into lemon cocktails. When it comes to cooking, there are endless lemon-flavored recipes, including lemon risotto, Myer lemon French toast, lemon and olive oil cake, and Portuguese lemon tarts. And if your lemons are just starting to go off (they will feel just a little bit squishy), you can combine the juice with a bit of salt and use the concoction as a cleaning liquid to wipe down your kitchen countertop or fridge. However, if your lemons are moldy or too soft, it's safest to just toss them.