Fresh Squeezed Juice: An Essential or a Luxury?

When a recipe calls for fresh squeezed lemon, orange or even juice from a blood orange, do you take the time to juice that citrus yourself? Do you think it's worth the extra steps and time?

I do.

As a person who works with food professionally, I'll admit I'm always trying to cut corners and save time. I so appreciate one-pot dishes, show–stopping bowls of soup made from five ingredients or less and dinners like lasagna that practically cook themselves. I love to save time, money, energy, but with fresh citrus, I think the squeezed juice from a real fruit is absolutely paramount in flavor and brightness.

I grew up in a house with a plastic–shaped lemon bottle which contained a lemon–like substance. I would merrily make lemonade with heavy–handed squirts of this weird stuff and heaping tablespoons of sugar (a wild, budding gourmand!). It sort of tasted like lemonade. Fast forward many years later and I was living in Istanbul. It was there that I got completely addicted to the freshness of squeezed orange juice, often mixed with pomegranate juice. And things were never the same. I loved the incredible balance of tart and sweet. In most recipes, fresh citrus adds an incredible punch that just isn't as strong when coming from a carton or bottle. It's not difficult to keep a hand juicer available for quick amounts of juice to add to salad dressings, cocktails, soups and grain–based salads.

I'm curious what your thoughts are on this? To squeeze or not to squeeze?

Related: Orange Juice: Morning Necessity or Empty Calories?

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)

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