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Substitute for Fresh Lemon Juice

If you don't have fresh lemons on hand, can any packaged products approximate the flavor of lemon juice and zest?

Fresh lemons contribute both vibrant acidity and aroma to countless dishes. But is there a packaged lemon juice that you can keep in your pantry in case you don't have fresh fruit?

To find out, we prepared lemonade and lemon curd with six packaged lemon products.

Not surprisingly, none came close to matching the tart, clean, bright flavor of fresh-squeezed lemon juice when tasted in lemonade. But when cooked in the lemon curd, ReaLemon lemon juice from concentrate and True Lemon crystallized lemon juice both capably mimicked the acidity of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and were deemed acceptable in a pinch. Both can be found at grocery stores nationwide—ReaLemon in the bottled juice aisle, and True Lemon in the baking aisle.

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