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Dec 30, 2011 10:06 AM

A Loss of Lemons

I'm in the midst of a New Year's baking fury. The tart dough is chilling in the fridge, eggs are separated and swimming in their bowls, pounds of sugar line the counter top, and the floor is a haze of flour and butter. There is a shiny new kitchen torch dreaming of pillowy meringue, but only three measly lemons in the fruit door. Does anyone know if it would possible (good) to substitute roughy 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice with the bottled stuff for a lemon meringue pie? I'm using the Daring Bakers recipe and the lemon juice I have is 'Reconstituted' with 'Natural Strength'. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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  1. You're there, we're in no position to judge. Taste the bottled juice and decide for yourself. It won't get better if you cook with it, so if it has "off" flavors then avoid it.

    1. I would say up the lemon zest and just make sure the juice doesn't taste bad, as ferret suggested.

      1. Yes, you can certainly substitute reconstituted "Real Lemon" for lemon juice. I do agree with others that you should zest the lemons because you will need the zest to boost the flavor profile of the bottled juice.

        You should also microwave the lemons for 1 minute on medium before juicing them because that will greatly increase the juice output.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kelli2006

          Ditto everything Kelli2006 said.

          Also, wouldn't hurt to boil the spent lemons and reduce until you get a nice thick lemon sauce.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yup - the spent lemons will have a nice lemon flavor sans the acid. It reminds me of the British version of lemonade. But the acid is (IMHO) essential in giving a lemon or lime pie the tang in the finished product.

              I'm guessing that the OP is located in an area where citrus isn't readily available. I have to wonder if "fresh" lemonade is available in the local markets? If so, I wonder if simmering it down would make a workable lemon syrup?

          1. Yes, taste the bottled juice -- some of it is decent, but I've had ones that taste like furniture polish. If it's tasty, it'll turn out a nice pie. No clue what brand "the bottled stuff" is you've got there.

            1. I have never found a bottled lemon juice, the kind that is sold on supermarket shelves, to be an acceptable substitute for the real thing. They all taste metallic to me. Frozen lemon juice that comes in a plastic bottle is perfectly fine, though.