Juice of one lemon equals how much concentrate? That's something I always wanted to know personally, so when a reader of this site asked me, I thought what a great opportunity to create a guide about it.
Lemon is a fruit that’s present in every refrigerator or pantry. Why? Because lemon juice is a popular ingredient in delicious dishes of different cuisines or stunning cocktails and mocktails.
It adds a fresh sourness for a well-rounded flavor. Lemon juice is also extremely healthy.
But what do you do when you don’t have lemons at home? You can use lemon juice concentrate instead.
So how much concentrate equals fresh juice? Besides, is it good enough as a substitute for freshly squeezed lemon juice? If you’re struggling with these questions, we have all the answers!
What Is Lemon Juice Concentrate
Before we learn about how lemon juice concentrate can replace fresh lemon juice, let’s first understand what it actually is.
You’ll usually find bottled lemon concentrate in supermarkets and local grocery stores. There are different types of these, and they are supposed to be used in place of real lemon juice.
Now, a concentrate of any juice is a reduced version of it, in which there is no water or diluting substance. “Lemon juice concentrate” refers to pure lemon juice.
If you take the same quantity of both, the concentrate is usually a little stronger flavor with more tartness than freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The bottled concentrates available in the market usually contain lemon oil along with the concentrated juice.
But wait! Some of them also have a small amount of flavoring agents and preservatives. So if you think that these bottles are nothing but pure lemon juice, think again.
The usual process of making is by letting the water content evaporate in order to extract the real fruit juice content.
This is allowed to dry up, so form a powder. Then it is turned into liquid by adding water, preservatives, and flavoring and coloring agents. Sometimes, vitamin C and citric acid are also added.
Lemon juice concentrate, when used in the right amount, can be used in place of fresh juice in salad dressings, sauces, cocktails, and more.
If you keep them in a cool dark place, they should stay good for 6-18 months after opening the bottle, depending on the preservatives used.
Juice Of One Lemon Equals How Much Concentrate of Lemon Juice?
You’d expect lemon concentrate to be much stronger than the same amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice, as it doesn’t have diluting substances that naturally occur in fresh lemon juice.
But then again, bottled lemon juice contains a few other elements like water, preservatives, and additives.
If you notice carefully, you'll see that bottled lemon juice concentrate is slightly tarter than fresh juice, and the smell is a little more pungent.
But once the aftertaste subsides, you will notice that the amount of bottled lemon concentrate should be the same as fresh lemon juice to be used in a recipe.
So the question is, if you have to substitute lemon juice with lemon concentrate, how much should you use?
In general, you can replace the juice of one medium lemon with 2 tablespoons of concentrate. A medium lemon, when squeezed, will give you about 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Many recipes mention the number of lemons and not the amount of juice. Usually, this refers to medium lemons.
To be on the safe side, assume that one such lemon will give you 2 tablespoons of juice. So, if you’re planning to use concentrated juice in such a recipe, use no more than 2 tbsp for each lemon.
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice vs. Concentrated Lemon Juice
It is easy to replace the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon with the same amount of bottled concentrate.
We have already told you the measurement that you can follow. But as we all know, fresh lemon is always a better option when it comes to food. What could be better than natural?
So, why use concentrated lemon juice? Bottled lemon concentrate comes with its own set of advantages:
The first thing to note is that it is easy to use. When it comes to real lemon, you have to squeeze each fruit and remove the seeds before you can use it.
You might have to squeeze several lemons to get sufficient juice. But bottled concentrate saves you the trouble. All you have to do is to measure and pour!
b) Long Shelf Life
Fresh lemons last for about 2-3 days. So you can’t buy them in bulk and will need to make regular runs to the grocery store for them.
This also makes them expensive. But concentrated lemon juice stays good for 6 months in the fridge after opening the bottle. If it’s rich in preservatives, it stays good for 18 months.
c) Nutrient-Rich and Strong Flavor
The process of manufacturing concentrated lemon juice involves the infusion of flavoring and coloring agents.
Additives give it more tartness and a stronger smell. Sometimes, certain nutrients are infused into the concentrate, making it a richer source of such vitamins and minerals than natural lemons.
In addition to these advantages, concentrated lemon juice also gives you some of the other benefits that you can get from fresh lemon juice. For instance, it is low in calorie and fat content, just like fresh juice.
Plus, the juice is generally extracted from ripe lemons, which, in natural form, is a little challenging to find.
So then why is fresh lemon considered better than concentrated juice? It has its own advantages.
a) Natural and Healthy
Juice squeezed out of lemon is in its natural form and is completely fresh. It has no preservatives or additives and is therefore healthier.
All the nutrients in the juice of the fruits are in the proportion that Mother Nature intended. It also has a natural flavor, with no tart aftertaste or artificial smell.
b) Rich in Nutrients
The nutrients added to lemon concentrate are healthy but not natural. But the quantity of nutrients naturally occurring in fresh juice, like vitamin C, potassium, folate, etc., is much more.
It has more antioxidants and pectins. So it is great for consumption and external application on the skin.
c) Gentle Effect
Concentrated lemon juice has a higher level of tartness. Plus, due to the presence of chemicals and additives, it’s harsh.
For instance, drinking concentrated lemon with water leaves a burning sensation in the throat, and putting it in a hair pack dries it out. But this will never happen in the case of fresh juice.
d) No Artificial Processing
To get the juice of a lemon, you need to acquire the real fruit and squeeze it. There’s no artificial processing involved in the extraction of the juice from the lemon.
You get to hand-pick the freshest and the best lemons from the lot at the local market. The fresh fruit juice will be pure, healthy, and delicious.
Pros and Cons of Concentrated Lemon Juice
Pros and Cons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
You probably know that eating clean is the best option. When it comes to edible products, you should always go for options that are natural, fresh, and free from chemicals.
They also taste better. That’s where freshly squeezed wins the game. So fresh lemon juice is always recommended.
Concentrated lemon is slightly off in flavor. If you taste it raw, you'll notice that there's something missing in it.
When you dilute it with other ingredients in salads, cocktails, etc., its tartness and artificial flavor are usually not detectable. But when it's undiluted, the lemony brightness is just not strong enough.
Concentrated lemon juice may contain metabisulfites of sodium and potassium to keep bacteria at bay and keep the natural color of the juice intact.
They might cause adverse reactions in those who are allergic to sulfites. So be careful while buying bottled lemon juice. Or, just squeeze lemons at home!
How To Make Fresh Lemon Juice Last Longer
We are aware of the disadvantages of concentrated lemon, and we all want to purchase fresh lemons only.
Yet, we always buy concentrated lemon juice. The bottle sits in the fridge as a backup plan. If you ever run out of fresh lemons, you know this bottle has your back and can serve as a substitute.
This is possible simply because concentrated lemon juice has a long shelf life. However, there’s good news.
It is possible for you to make freshly squeezed lemon juice last longer than its usual shelf life of a couple of days. How? Simply squeeze out the juice, put it in an ice cube tray, and freeze it!
Then, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and store in the freezer. This way, you’ll preserve it for several months without the use of preservatives or chemicals.
All you need to do is melt the ice cubes when you need to. Freeze two tablespoons of juice, i.e., the juice of one lemon, in each ice cube compartment.
Follow these few steps for better storage of lemon juice. For instance, you shouldn’t store it at room temperature to prevent the formation of bacteria.
You should never keep it in see-through jars as the light that enters the bottle can break it down. It can last for 2-3 days in an opaque bottle in the fridge.
Storing lemons and preventing them from going bad is not easy. They remain fresh for about 2-3 days in the fridge.
However, there are ways to ensure that lemons last long, besides freezing lemon juice in ice cubes. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to extend the shelf life of lemons.
- Put lemons in ziplock bags, squeeze the air out, and seal it tightly to preserve them for a month.
- To store half a lemon, wrap it in cling film and keep it in a sealed container before refrigerating it.
- Keep them away from fruits that emit ethylene as the ripening hormone will spoil the lemons.
- Keep greener lemons to use later as they take longer to ripen and produce more juice.
- An old trick is to put the lemons in a glass filled with water and keep them in the refrigerator.
So, if your primary reason for using lemon concentrate is the shelf-life and storage, the methods and steps mentioned above should be able to help you.
But fresh lemons are still more expensive than concentrated juice. Plus, the concentrated juice can just sit in the fridge for any lemon emergency.
Other Alternatives To Freshly Squeezed Lemon
Concentrated lemon juice is an extremely popular alternative to fresh lemon juice. However, it is not the only one.
There are many others that vary in composition and duration. Let’s take a quick look at the different alternatives to freshly squeezed lemon juice other than concentrated lemon juice.
Lemon powder is a dehydrated lemon powder with lemon zest. Mix a teaspoon of lemon powder in 2 tablespoons of water.
It is equal to 2 tablespoons of fresh juice. Another alternative is non-concentrated juice. It tastes closest to fresh juice as it is just juice in a bottle. It may not have preservatives, either.
Many such versions are available in the market. Some of them are free from preservatives. You'll find a few that are produced without the process of dehydration.
Most of them will not last as long as a concentrated lemon juice, and it's not necessary that they are better either. So, take your pick carefully.
Lemon Cocktail/Mocktail Recipes with Lemon Juice
Lemon concentrate works really well in cocktails. The alcohol in the mix mellows the tart taste of the concentrated juice.
Other ingredients used in the cocktail, from coke to rock salt, balance the acidity with all the sweetness and saltiness. So here are some lemon cocktail recipes!
Lemon Drop Martini
Here’s a cocktail that can be a hit at your next house party! Or you can simply enjoy it on a Friday evening while you unwind and Netflix!
- Citron vodka: 3 tbsp
- Cointreau: 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
- Maple syrup: 1 tbsp
- Sugar (superfine): For the glass rim
- Lemon twist: For garnishing
- Start by cutting the lemon wedge. Make a small slash in the wedge and run the wedge along the rim of the glass. Turn it over and place it on a plate of superfine sugar.
- In a cocktail shaker, put all the other ingredients. Put ice into it, and shake everything properly, until the mix becomes cold.
- Strain the liquid mixture into the sur-rimmed glass.
- Using a paring knife, cut a lemon twist out of the peel and put it in the glass to garnish it.
Your cocktail is ready to serve. Isn’t that easy?
Lemon Basil Spritzer (Virgin)
The second recipe is that of a refreshing mocktail for teetotallers. Check out the recipe full of delicious ingredients.
- Fresh basil: 3 leaves
- Lemon wedges: 2 pieces
- Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
- Simple syrup: 2 tbsp (or liquid stevia: 4-5 drops)
- Sparkling water (cold): ¾ cup
- Lemon twists/basil leaves: For garnishing
- Take a glass and put in basil leaves and lemon wedges. Then, muddle to crush and mix them.
- Add lemon juice to the glass and pour in sugar syrup or drops of stevia. Muddle a little more.
- Pour chilled sparkling water into the glass.
- Next, add ice cubes and garnish with basil leaves and a lemon twist.
Are you ready to enjoy a sip of this glass of deliciousness?
What happens if you suddenly discover that you are out of lemons? A bottle of lemon concentrate in the fridge will come to your rescue.
Its composition and ingredients increase its shelf life. So, if you buy a bottle, it will last for 6-18 months. You might, at one point, feel like it will never run out or go bad!
It has preservatives and additives that make it last long. But it also makes the concentrated juice taste tart and gives it an artificial flavor.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always preferred. But concentrated lemon juice is still a great ingredient to use when you don’t have time to buy or squeeze fresh lemons.
Even though the flavor of concentrated lemon juice is slightly off, you can still use it in many recipes.
If you cook with it or dilute it with other ingredients, the difference in flavor will not be understood. It performs well in dishes that are intended to be tangy and calls for a host of aromatics.
It also works well with cocktails and mocktails in which other liquids mellow the tartness and artificial acidity.
You can use it in vinaigrettes as long as you use a small amount and mix it with other ingredients. But avoid using concentrate in raw dishes that require the lemony brightness of fresh lemon to shine.
It is quite easy to replace fresh lemon juice with concentrated juice. In terms of quantity, the two are equivalent.
But it is always recommended that you go for fresh lemon juice as much as possible. The refreshing smell and sour taste are best at balancing the sweet and salty notes of any dish or beverage.