In a perfect world, we would all use fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice every time a recipe calls for it, but that’s just not always realistic. Especially if you need more than a few tablespoons, it can be unreasonable to keep a dozen lemons or limes on hand just in case a margarita party breaks out. If that doesn’t happen, then on top being faced with that harsh reality, you’re left with a crisper drawer half full of dried out or moldy citrus.

Enter, cold-pressed non-concentrate bottled juices. While they don’t quite have that fresh-squeezed taste that can’t be found anywhere but in the real thing, but I promise, this alternative is runner-up. This isn’t like the weird watered-down-concentrate stuff in a plastic bottle or lemon-shaped capsule. This juice is a little different in that it has been minimally processed. It has been pasteurized simply for the bottling procedure, and the pulp has been removed. If you want a little pulp, you’ll have to supplement with fresh-squeezed juice.

If you’re making something like lemon bars and are going to be heating the juice in your recipe anyway, you might as well use non-concentrated bottled juice rather than fresh, since that just-squeezed flavor will inevitably die off. Though, you might want to have a fresh piece of citrus around so you can get some zest in there!

Santa Cruz, Lakewood (pictured), and Whole Foods’ 365 are some readily available brands.

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