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Lemon juice in the plastic lemon..

Is it as good as the real stuff..how long does it last?

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  1. Reconstituted lemon juice is a far cry from fresh squeezed, but I do keep it in the fridge for emergencies and to make buttermilk. It is also tolerable as a acid in marinades.

    1. No

      But buy a lemon and a small bottle of the other (or borrow some) and taste. And use your preference. BTW, fresh lemons last a bit and almost every dish can be brightened by a small squeeze.

      1 Reply
      1. re: alwayscooking

        not to mention that plastic lemons don't come with zest

      2. Parents have a lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange tree so usually get fresh all the time. However, I always keep my fake lemon and like on hand. Helpful when you need a dash, I love avacados and I use the plastic lemon to squeeze on my avacado so it doesn't brown. Little things.

        But you can't be the fresh taste!

        FYI, I would think they would last a long time I just used my lime the other night and I know it is pretty old.

        1. I tend to use fresh, except when canning....

          1. Fresh is best. And fresh lemons do last for a while. I use them all the time- in marinades, sauces, and love them squeezed over any roasted vegatable, and in sauteed mushrooms. If I think they are getting old, time for a marinade! Lemon juice, garlic and thyme are great on lamb and chicken. ANd for steak, lemon juice garlic, soy and a bit of brown sugar make a noce teriyaki type marinade.

            1. Never used the little plastic lemons but do use a lot of ReaLemon in my canning as a substitute for vinegar in some things. I imagine it is the same stuff.
              The bottles have an expiry date of about a year.

              1. It's horrible stuff, tastes like chemicals - if I couldn't get a real lemon for a dish I wanted to make, I'd make a different dish before I'd use that garbage.

                Not that I have a strong opinion or anything. ;-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: BobB

                  Completely agree. I have the same complaint about "home-made" lemonade served in 99.99% of restaurants. It tastes like floor cleaner, not to mention always always too sweet. Ugh.

                  1. re: soniabegonia

                    I agree as well. the bottled stuff tastes funky to me.

                2. I personally find those little cutesy-poo plastic lemons to be horrible. They taste nasty. Yes, they seem to last forever and so does the chemical taste.

                  You can do a lot better with Minute Maid's frozen 100% Pure Lemon Juice from concentrate. It's reconstituted from lemon juice concentrate from Argentina and tastes decent. Not as good as fresh but when lemons are very expensive and not very good quality as happens during some seasons, it's a decent alternative. And it's better than using old dried-out ones from the back of the fridge drawer.
                  Once it's defrosted, it keeps for about 2 months according to the label but I've found that it seems to stay OK for longer than that for simple squirts.
                  Nope. Wouldn't make a lemon meringue pie with it, but for many uses, it's not bad. Way better than the little plastic lemon.
                  And a good value. It's equal to the juice of about 7 lemons and costs about $2 in my area.

                  1. I buy 250ml "own label" bottles from the supermarket. Other than lemon juice , it contains a preservative (potassium metabisulphate). It's a useful standby.

                    The bottle says refrigerate after opening but I never bother. A bottle probably lasts us 12 months or thereabouts.

                    1. Bwahaha! I remember I used to drink the "lemon juice" straight from the plastic lemon as a kid!

                      1. As others have mentioned, it's not as good and lemons last quite a while. I keep lemons on the counter (they juice better at room temp) until they start to look like they're past their prime, then I zest them, and juice the "naked" lemons and save each separately in the freezer. The frozen zest and frozen juice aren't quite as good as fresh, but they make do in a pinch, and make killer homemade lemonade when I have a large stash.

                        1. I just keep real lemons in the fridge. Not Realemon.


                          1. I totally agree, but in emergencies and for a quick drizzle, it is ok. I normally have my stash of lemons tonight will be the perfect example. Salmon, have fresh dill, and I make a cream sauce with capers and just less than 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, no zest in this one.

                            No lemons so my little plastic guy will have to surfice. I'm in the field all day on a boat until 8pm and then eating at my friends apt. I'm taking my own pan to cook the meal, so I highly doubt he has a lemon :) I'm surprised he has silverware.

                            1. The flavor notes of citrus juices have a very short half-live - like a few hours at most. The acidity lasts a very long time, but the full flavors are very short-lived. That's why, when a recipe specifies fresh-squeezed, it means its being used for those flavors, not just acidity, and the results will not be the same unless fresh.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Karl S

                                I realize that, but sometimes I just don't have a fresh lemon. If for a party, absolutely, but usually when I use my plastic guy it is for me, my son, a couple of friends who would never know the difference or as it tonight. He doesn't even have a pan in his kitchen.

                                I use fresh primarily and understand you don't get all the flavor, but it is enough to make a hint of flavor which is all I need. I'm sitting offshore 50 miles on a boat doing data entry and do see any stores around, LOL.

                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  ReaLemon won't help prevent scurvy, but True Lemon crystallized powder will....

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    I really like True Lemon and their other products, True Lime and True Orange. They are great in water, I use them in cocktails when I don't have the fresh citrus on hand, I use it in cooking too.

                                    I also buy the Sicilian Lemon, Lime and Key Limes in the grocery. They have brighter flavor and taste fresher than the "Real Lemon" brand. Sicilian Lemon is in a yellow plastic squeeze bottle -- but has a longer neck and more jar-lake shape than the Real Lemon squeeze bottle.

                              2. Used to use the plastic ones regularly. Then one day, I was making salsa and used fresh lemons I had on had....and I am done with the plastic ones. For some reason I had never noticed the flavour difference before.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pepper_mil

                                  Fresh salsa, no choice, fresh limes for me. absolutely

                                2. True confession: I keep a plastic lemon at my desk at work. I drink tons of tea all day long & like a little squirt now and then. I've been doing this for months (not with the same plastic lemon, mind you), and have had no ill effects. Would fresh lemon be better? You bet your citrus, but at work is ain't happenin'.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                    Yep, I had one at work all the time, I used to get a small fried fish appetizer and fries from my seafood market across the street on the water. Always kept my lemon, they always forgot to put a fresh one in :)

                                  2. Minute Maid has a frozen lemon juice that is the juice of 6 lemons, period. I keep it on hand and in the freezer (it may be hard to find, so buy 2-3). It's the real thing for when you're out of lemons or you need a lot of juice.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                      Or you could just squeeze 6 lemons into an ice-cube tray...
                                      Lemons aren't hard to find.

                                      1. re: Soop

                                        as if I could fit an ice-cube tray into my freezer - LOL! maybe one day....

                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                          I also have to agree with that one. Apt my ice maker half works so I have tray then my food. I keep some stuff at a close friend just a block away. He has a big ice chest with nothing in it so I use it.

                                        2. re: Soop

                                          I actually do that all the time with wine. Lemons I usually have on hand. Just haven't got to moms to pick up my bag she has for me. I just work odd hours and sometimes just have no time for the store. And with catering most of my fresh go for that. I have 3 jobs, all different hours and I get called in alot so sometimes getting to a store doesn't fit into the schedule. Hence why I run out sometimes.

                                      2. today I am having asparagus for lunch. I grabbed a lemon from my fruit bowl, cut it in half, popped half in the fridge, and will use the other half t season my asparagus. The half in the fridge will probably be used on seafood for tomorrow nights dinner. I probably buy 5 or 6 lemons at a time, and seem to use them all up!

                                        1. http://www.amazon.com/Citrus-Juicer-O...
                                          This is a gadget I use all the time. It strains the seeds and the juice drains into the bottom with little effort. The top grasps the lemon as you turn it, resulting in the most juice you can imagine. I found mine at Harris Teeter.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Lewes17266

                                            I often find that some lemons are "duds" that you get very little juice from, but some lemons you get loads!

                                            That's from making lemonade

                                            1. re: Soop

                                              It helps to prick them and put them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.
                                              I keep lemons, too - we have a producing tree in the yard, but I enjoy having the Minute Maid stuff on hand anyway (thread was discussing lemon juice in containers).

                                              1. re: Soop

                                                Buy the lemons with thin skins. You should be able to judge, from the weight, which will be juicier.

                                                The thick skinned lemons have much pith and little juice, and the relative weights are meaningless.

                                                Rolling a lemon on the counter and then zapping it in the microwave does tend to release extra juice from any given lemon.

                                            2. I don't think you can compare them properly unless you taste them in whatever application you have in mind. I used to buy the plastic lemon-but once I started using fresh I couldn't bring myself back to the plastic guy- the taste was terrible. We have a tree now, and it's a good thing because those suckers get expensive when you use them often! I have a bottle in the back of the fridge but it's really, really old and it should be thrown out but I keep thinking I may use it to dissolve paint or something....

                                              1. As others have said, of course fresh lemon is better. But I do keep either the plastic lemon or RealLemon (sp?) in my refrigerator for emergencies. And I just happened to use the plastic lemon thing tonight (I just bought it last week) and noticed that the expiration date is Feb 2010. That's a long time!

                                                1. I like to keep the plastic lemon on hand for hiccups. A couple squirts and they're gone. It beats wasting a fresh lemon, for sure.

                                                  1. I did a test last summer, lemons were a buck a piece. I bought a green bottle of reconstituted. ahhhh, it was just different than fresh. It sure had a sweet taste to it if I recall correctly. I did use it in a marinade too.
                                                    I think it is fine in marinade or a drink such as a margaritias or perhaps other drinks, but not to use fresh with fish. I'm so happy my lemon tree is still producing great big fat juicy lemons this year, I'll freeze those if I have to~

                                                    1. Not to be unkind but are you kidding? There is no substitution and the plastic being eaten away by the acid cannot be good for you. Like some others here I freeze lemon juice when I have too much and when the lemon are beginning to dry out. BTW I freeze it in glass jars with space left to expand when frozen. Plastic, lemon juice, yuck.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: spm

                                                        Not to be unkind but I find your reply somewhat condescending.
                                                        The question was part jest but I wondered since I get the Trader Joe's Silicia that is 100% made from Italian lemons..it taste great and when lemons are over a $1 a piece, it is a great alternative..plus, its only a dollar...albeit, in a fancier plastic lemon style than its American counterpart!

                                                        1. re: spm

                                                          I agree, however, small undersized apt freezer. I have no room for ice cubes. Just a few wine cubes is about it. Lemons usually get fresh, but sometimes not. Work 12 hr days, sometimes 3 days in a row in the field. So if I get home, hungry for fish, fresh grouper frozen ... no fresh lemons, no frozen, fresh herbs however in my pots so I wanted lemon ... so guess what - that lemon really helped a bit. Normally fresh, normally in the fridge, but there are times. I never knew the difference and it was great fish.. If I have room for 1 more ice cute no less a glass jar I would be lucky.. My plastic guy did just fine for what I needed. I wasn't making sauce ... just a squirt for some flavor. I'm still alive ... I guess the plastic didn't kill me yet.

                                                        2. I buy a fresh-squeezed pint ($3) or quart ($6) of lemon juice from an organic farmer that comes to the Saturday downtown farmers market in Santa Monica and then freeze it in my ice cube trays and put the cubes in zip-loc bags. Then, I just take the cubes out and use them as I need them. The farmer suggested I do this and it's one of the best shortcuts I've done.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: paralegalgs

                                                            1 have 2 small snack bags with ice cube lemons. Unfortunately I don't even have room for my trays no less anything else. Apartment living at it's best. I did that all the time when I had my chest freezer. I do have access to one know, but I have to drive to it. It keep big stuff it in like turkey, chicken, large containers of broth. I wish I had more room. I still keep my little plastic friends just for emergencies.