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Lemon juice and lemon are two closely related foods, but they are not the same. Both foods have a sour, acidic taste. However, lemon is a whole fruit including peel, seeds, and pulp. Lemon juice is only the juice extracted from the lemon fruit and does not contain peel or seeds, though it may contain pulp. Extracting lemon juice from lemon is not challenging, but buying pre-made lemon juice from a grocery store may be more convenient.
While the consistencies and textures of lemon juice and lemon are different (one is solid and one is liquid), the flavor is the same.
Comparison Chart: Is Lemon Juice the Same as Lemon?
Juice from lemon, occasionally water
If store-bought: possibly preservatives and lemon oil
Add zest to dishes with lemon peel, chop up and eat the fruit, use it as flavoring
Add flavor to salads and other foods
About $2.50 per pound. About $0.62 for one lemon
About $0.62 per juiced lemon.
About $1.79–$5.00 per bottle
Where to buy
Most local grocery stores and major grocery chains
Most local grocery stores, major grocery chains, online
Vitamin C and fiber, protein, potassium, Vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, calcium
Vitamin C, fiber, and calcium, iron, and magnesium
Cooking, baking, particularly in citrus upside-down cake, fish dishes, and chicken dishes
Flavoring, cooking, baking, particularly in lemon bars, lemonade, and lemon chicken
Lemon Juice Explained
Lemon juice has a tangy and sharp flavor and has many uses, such as making drinks or cocktails and adding flavor to salads, meat dishes, and desserts like lemon bars. Lemon juice ingredients depend on whether the juice is freshly squeezed or store-bought.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice contains only lemon and may contain some pulp and seeds if it hasn’t been strained. The juice is squeezed from the fruit, and the seeds are removed. Most people like to remove the pulp as well, by straining or using a special juicing device.
Store-bought lemon juice may contain water, lemon oil, and preservatives, depending on the company that produced it.
Lemon juice has many uses, particularly for marinades, in drinks like lemonade, or for baking or cooking meals such as lemon chicken or lemon cake. It’s also used to flavor meats like chicken, beef steak, and shrimp. It may also be used as a salad dressing to add a sharp, citrus flavor.
In beverages, lemon juice is ideal for making lemonade and other drinks like lemon drop cocktails. As a baking ingredient, lemon juice provides a great sharp and tangy taste and can also be used in jams to help the jam set properly.
An extremely popular way to use lemon juice is in lemonade, which is easily made using water, sugar, and lemon juice.
Where to Buy
Buy lemon juice at almost any grocery store in the US. Lemon juice is sold in a bottle and usually ranges from $1.79 to $5.00. Lemon juice is very common and easy to find. If preferred, lemon juice can also be made from scratch by squeezing the juice out of lemons by hand or with a juicer.
Lemon juice is healthy and is packed with vitamin C. It also includes fiber, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Lemon juice has health benefits including alleviating sore throats, helping with digestion, and keeping the skin healthy.
A whole lemon can be used in a variety of ways for cooking and baking. Lemon peel is often used for the zest on the outer peel. Lemons contain many vitamins such as vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. Lemon also has health benefits like keeping the heart healthy and potentially lowering cholesterol.
As an ingredient, lemons are often used in baking, cooking, and flavoring. Use lemons as a garnish on a variety of dishes and drinks or to flavor dishes like chicken or salmon. Lemon zest is often used in cocktails. Another tasty way to use lemon is in lemon desserts, such as citrus upside-down cake.
Where to Buy
Lemons are easy to find in most local grocery stores and major grocery chains in the US. Lemons usually cost around $2.40 per pound or $0.62 for one.
Lemons are healthy, mostly due to the large amount of vitamin C they contain. Lemons also contain fiber. Some health benefits of lemons include clear skin, better digestion, lower blood pressure, and kidney stone prevention.
Choosing Lemon vs Lemon Juice
Both lemons and lemon juice have many uses in cooking, baking, flavoring, and making drinks. While lemon juice is used often in drinks and cooking to help flavor foods like meat, lemons are usually used more sparingly, in small quantities, due to their sharp, acidic taste. For instance, lemon wedges are often used simply as a garnish.
Sometimes using lemon or lemon juice depends purely on preference. It may also depend on what the recipe calls for. The two ingredients can be used interchangeably in many dishes. For instance, lemon water can be made by adding lemon juice to the water or slices of lemon, depending on preference.
Lemon bars can also be made using either lemons or lemon juice. You can even use yuzu, which is a Japanese lemon, for a stronger flavor. And some lemon chicken recipes call for lemon juice, but you can garnish with sliced lemons or sliced yuzu. When choosing between lemon and lemon juice, consider what the recipe calls for and how much sourness and acidity you prefer.