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Lemons and Limes (Juice and Zest)

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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. How much lemon juice does a lemon have?
  2. How much lime juice does a lime have?
  3. How much zest do you get from one lemon?
  4. How much zest do you get from one lime?
  5. Selecting and storing lemons and limes

Lemon and lime juice are used to add citrus flavor to a variety of dishes. The average fresh lemon contains between 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. The average fresh lime contains about 2 tablespoons lime juice.1 If you do not have any fresh lemons or limes, you can substitute bottled lemon/lime juice in equal amounts. Lemon or lime juice can also be frozen in ice cube trays to ensure you always have some on hand.

Many recipes also call for lemon zest or lime zest. Zest refers to the grated citrus peel that is used to add bright lemon or lime flavor. An average lemon yields about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, while the average lime contains about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons lime zest.

Since pesticide residue may be stored in the skin/rind, it might be advisable to buy organic lemons and limes if you're using them for zest.2 It is also important to make sure the lemons and limes are not waxed!

How to zest a lemon (or lime): use a special zester if you have one, or zest them with a grater. If you find that you're always missing zest, you can purchase lemon extract or lime extract and substitute a 1/2 teaspoon extract for every tablespoon zest. Leftover zest can also be frozen.

Select lemons that are firm with smooth, bright yellow skin and limes that are firm and heavy for their size with shiny skin. Both should be stored in the refrigerator. In the US, most lemons are grown in California and are available year round,3 while peak Meyer lemon season is between November and March.4 In the US, limes are available year roundthough lime season is in the summer monthsand are almost entirely imports.5

Nutrition DNA

The nutrition DNA of lemons and limes. For example, you can see that 1 serving of lemon or lime juice covers 70% of your daily need of Vitamin C and 13% of the recommended Fiber intake. Hover over the bars to see which nutrient is covered.


  1. What's Cooking America - Juicing Lemons
  2. New York Times - What is the risk from pesticide residue on citrus fruits?
  3. Utah State University - Lemons
  4. Serious Eats - Meyer Lemons
  5. Ag Marketing Resource Center - Citrus Profile


  1. Juice in one lemon: 2-3 tablespoons
  2. Juice in one lime: 2 tablespoons
  3. Zest from one lemon: 1 tablespoon
  4. Zest from one lime: 1.5-2 teaspoons
  5. Selecting and storing: choose lemons with smooth bright yellow skin and limes that are firm and heavy for their size with shiny skin, store both in the refrigerator
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