Lemons are an ideal way to perk up early spring cuisine; from salads to fish and desserts, they are an easy addition to keep on hand. However, I always end up planning a meal around my last lemon, only to find out it has become hard and yields as much juice as a potato. Then I read this simple tip from Cook's Illustrated!
Lemons look great just sitting in a bowl on the counter, so that's where they usually live in my kitchen. Well, it turns out, that's about the worst way to store them (go figure!). Cook's Illustrated tested several ways of storing the tart fruit and documented the fact that those lovely rinds don't protect the fruit from drying out as much as one would think.
They stored lemons in room temperature and standard refrigerator conditions. In the refrigerator, they also tested sealing the lemons in plastic bags, with and without water. The lemons stored in room temperature conditions only lasted a week before hardening. But the ones they sealed in plastic bags in the refrigerator? Those lasted FOUR times as long. A month versus a week on the counter top!
Now, the lemons stored loose in the refrigerator didn't fare quite as well, but were still an improvement over the room temperature examples. And the article makes a point that the lemons should be sealed in a plastic bag and not just shoved in a drawer in their flimsy, open supermarket produce bags. Adding water to the plastic bags didn't help with preservation, either.
Do you refrigerate your lemons sealed in plastic bags?
• Read more: Preserving Lemons at Cook's Illustrated
Related: Tip: Five Ways to Use Naked Lemons