Lemons add a touch of zing to an ice cold glass of water or a savory entree. There are many ways to enjoy lemons, but most people don’t eat them as a whole fruit due to their sour taste. Instead, these versatile fresh fruits are often a garnish in a variety of tasty drinks and foods to add a sour flavor, from lemonade to scampi. There are approximately 30 different kinds of lemons hailing from all over the world, including the Mediterranean, southern Mexico and Argentina, Chile, China, India, and the United States.
Packed with a high amount of vitamin C, nutrients, and plant compounds, lemons have been shown to aid weight in loss and reduce your risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease, kidney stones, and digestive issues. They also contain certain antioxidants, including limonene and naringenin, that may provide anticancer effects. Additionally, lemons contain diosmin an antioxidant that can improve muscle tone and reduce chronic inflammation.
Lemons are so delicious and versatile. Plus, they’re pretty easy to cut and enjoy. Read on for more on how to cut this delectable fruit.
How to Tell if a Lemon is Ripe
Determining if a lemon is ripe is more complicated than many other fruits. While lemons start out green on the vine, they turn to yellow earlier on in the ripening process, but this doesn’t always indicate they’re ready to be picked. Instead, you can tell a lemon is ripe by its size. Once the lemon reaches two to three inches in size, it’s typically ready to be picked. Additionally, it will have bright, glossy skin. If the skin looks wrinkled or squishy, it’s overripe. It’s better to pick an underripe lemon than one that’s past its prime.
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Two Easy Ways to Cut a Lemon
Lemons are super easy to cut to use for a variety of purposes. The most popular ways to enjoy this delicious fruit is by cutting them into wedges or wheels. Here’s how to do it:
1. Cut into Wedges
Lemon wedges can be used to add zest to your favorite drinks or added to delicious meals. Start by rinsing the fruit in cool water to remove any dirt and debris. Next, cut off the ends of the lemon. Just remove about half an inch of either end, just enough to create a flat surface on each end of the lemon.
Stand the lemon on one end and use a pairing knife to cut straight down and cut the lemon in half. Next, slice each half into quarters. Depending on the size of the fruit, you can stop here. Or, you can slice each quarter in half again. Be sure not to cut the wedges too small that they don’t have any juice to squeeze. It’s better to cut them a little bigger than too small.
2. Cut into Wheels
Alternatively, you can cut the lemon into wheels or slices. These wheels can be used as a garnish for your favorite lemon meals or drinks. To start, use a pairing knife to cut the lemon in half widthwise.
Next, take one of the halves and make a slice a quarter inch back from the cut end. You can make thinner or thicker slices, depending on your application, but a quarter inch makes a versatile slice. Continue cutting every quarter inch until you reach the end of the lemon. Toss away the end pieces.
How to Store a Lemon After It is Cut
For lemon wedges or slices, use a plastic container or storage bag to keep them fresh for three to four days in the refrigerator. Lemons run the risk of drying out if you leave them in the refrigerator for too long, so it’s important not to cut them until you’re sure you’re ready to enjoy them.
Uncut lemons last for three to four weeks in the refrigerator, so cutting them greatly reduces their shelf life. If you’ve already cut the lemons and need to store them for a longer period, you could always freeze them. Just remember that lemons soften in the freezer and won’t have as many uses as fresh lemons.
Now that you know how to cut a lemon, you can enjoy them in a variety of different foods, both savory and sweet. Add them to your favorite meals to provide a little extra zest and zing. Or, use them to garnish your favorite desserts and baked goods for the perfect finishing touch.