Are there any reasonable substitutions for lemon juice?

  • In the past I cooked myself into a corner when I realized mid-recipe that I didn't have any lemons or lemon juice available. Nor did I have any limes.

    I can't remember the exact recipe, but I believe it was some baked fish dish. What are some possible substitutes for lemon juice in this application? I ended up using a dash of apple cider vinegar. It didn't turn out bad, it just was distinctly not lemon.

    That depends; is the lemon there to help balance out the spice in a hot dish, or is it part of a recipe with the word "Lemon" in it?

    I don't remember exactly. I'm pretty sure that if it had "Lemon" in the title that I'd be out of luck, so I think it was just there to add some flavor. It was actually a rather sleepy "healthy" dish when I was on a diet.

    Your story is one of the advantages of 'mise en plas' -- I don't measure out everything, but taking 'em out of the cabinet/fridge at the beginning lets you know if you're missing something. (and when it's still on the counter when you're done, it's a sign you forgot to add something)

    @Joe: Interesting, I've always done that, but didn't realize it had a formal name. I just always found it more convenient.

    FYI, since we're learning a new term, it's spelled "mise en place." Like a lot of French terms, the pronunciation can cause spelling problems. Pronounced "meez ahn plahs."

    Bottled lemon juice keeps for weeks if not months in the fridge. Is it available in your country?

  • papin

    papin Correct answer

    10 years ago

    When you find cheap lemons, buy a lot. Squeeze half a lemon in each of the cavities of an ice tray. Freeze. Within a day, remove the frozen slivers from the tray to a ziploc bag in the freezer. You now have measured units of fresh lemon juice you may use for cooking and will keep for months. The frozen lemons are a bit less acid than fresh juice, but full of flavor. You can do the same with limes.

    Wow. This is pretty clever. Thanks!

    This is a good way to always have lemon juice available, but it doesn't actually answer the question that was asked.

    Agree with Marti. This doesn't answer the question at all. Specifically if one is "mid recipe" and doesn't already have lemon juice, advice to buy cheap lemons ahead of time and save them will do no good. I don't get why this has so many votes up for not helping whatsoever in this situation described.

    This doesn't answer the question and would be better suited as a comment.

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