“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Baking Aids „
Tesco Lemon juice has few ingredients other than concentrated lemon juice and some preservatives. You can really smell the lemon freshness when you open the bottle and use it, it is as basic as you can get which is what you want from something like lemon juice, it may not be as refined as other brands but you get a lot of lemon juice for your money. I have used other brands before such as Jif and they are maybe sweeter or have a slight edge to them where as this seems more natural to me, but it may not suit everybody's taste. I have always liked lemon juice , ever since I first had it with brown sugar on pancakes, I still do that now and also even just put a bit of lemon juice in my tea, which gives it an edge. This Tesco lemon juice is quite good value at about 50 p currently for 250 ml so you can use plenty of it, even for things other than cooking. It has many uses such as cleaning which I use it for, I just pour some on the dishcloth and clean the taps or cups to make them shiny. Wiping the surfaces down with this lemon juice leaves everything smelling very fresh and natural as well as clean looking. I think if you love lemon juice and use a lot of it then this will be a good buy, I am not fussy when it comes to the taste of it as I mostly use it with sugar or other ingredients when cooking and also use most of it for cleaning !
So continuing with the pancake day / Shrove Tuesday theme. After just reviewing the Tesco Pancake Mix in a bottle, I thought that I'd follow that with a review for that all important topping for your pancakes - the lemon juice. I always buy Jif lemon juice; either the bottle or the 'plastic lemon'. More often than not it's the plastic lemon that I buy, I know that the bottles are usually much better value for money, but I just prefer the quirkiness of the yellow plastic lemon! We get through quite a lot of lemon juice in our house; we use it on pancakes, I use it in baking and icings, I'm always replacing freshly squeezed lemon juice for Jif as I always forget to buy fresh lemons in the supermarket, my husband likes lemon juice on fish and seafood, I use it in salad dressings and sauces, we use it in cocktails, the list goes on and on. I decided recently to give the Tesco lemon juice a try, as it's much much cheaper than Jif. I paid just over £1 for a 500ml bottle of the Tesco lemon juice, and the Jif plastic lemons are normally around 50 pence for a 55ml lemon. I think that I really probably should have read the ingredients on the bottle of the Tesco lemon juice before I bought it, had I done that I wouldn't have gone ahead and bought it no matter how cheap it was. The Tesco lemon juice contains; lemon juice from concentrate, lemon oil, and preservative (potassium metabisulphite). Lemon juice from concentrate is the key here - it means that the lemon juice is really weak, it's actually just a bit like lemon flavoured water! As a comparison Jif lemon juice contains; just lemon juice and preservative (E223). I was really disappointed with the Tesco lemon juice, not only was it really watery and weak, it also didn't have that intense lemony smell that Jif lemon juice has. And it certainly didn't have that intense lemony taste! I found that when added to recipes and baking I couldn't even detect any hint of a lemony taste at all. Even my husband commented on how weak and tasteless it was after he'd added it to fish a few times. I don't think that I was expecting it to be as good as Jif lemon juice, but I was really quite surprised by how weak and tasteless it actually was. Just like Jif lemon juice you need to store the Tesco lemon juice in the fridge once opened, and you do just need to give the bottle a gentle shake before using it. I think that lemon juice is so handy to have in the fridge, even if you do prefer to use freshly squeezed lemon juice, there will always be that occasion when you've forgotten to buy lemons, so having lemon juice in the fridge will mean that you can just use this instead. However I won't be buying the Tesco lemon juice again, and it certainly won't be in my fridge, I'm going to go back to good old Jif lemon juice.
I always use Jif lemon juice but for some reason we had this Tesco one in the cupboard, I thought to myself that lemon juice is lemon juice so had this on my pancakes with a bit of sugar last night. I thought it would be like Jif where you can use it in place of lemon juice for any recipe or purpose but it's not all that natural and tastes proper fake. It's made of lemon juice from concentrate and lemon oil but the only other thing that has been added is a preservative so I don't know why it tastes like that. It's got a bit of a chemical taste as well and doesn't taste very fresh, I could tell straight away that it wasn't as good as Jif but when I bit into my pancake it just tasted like I'd poured sour water on it. It's got a lemon taste but is more like lemon washing up liquid than anything else, there's no way I'd use it in cakes or biscuits because if it's this crap just on pancakes then I reckon it would spoil the whole batch of cakes! I deffo won't buy this lemon juice again, it doesn't taste like lemon and is proper cheap and nasty. It's quite cheap and a 500ml bottle costs £1.29, the little lemon shaped Jif lemon juices are only 55ml and that costs over 60p in most shops so this one works out loads cheaper by weight. Thing is it's not fit to be used on anything, it wrecked my pancake because it made it taste like I'd dropped it in washing up liquid! lol Not recommended!!!
Fresh lemons are a useful fruit to have in the kitchen but recently I have noticed that they are going hard very quickly and I am throwing more away than I am using. Some of this is because I buy a net with 4 or even more lemons in it as they are quite often better value, if you can use them all! But I do usually have a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge for those times when I need some lemon in a recipe, although sometimes a real lemon is essential when the rind is needed for that extra lemony zing. How wonderful to have them growing in the garden and pick when needed! When I was small my Mum used to buy Jif lemons, do you remember the yellow lemon shaped container? but so often they went "off" and the lemon was cloudy and tasted vile, the bottled juice lasts much longer. The green glass bottle with silver coloured plastic lid contains 250mls, it is recyclable. The lemon juice is made from Concentrate, lemon oil and preservative. There is 1 kcal in a teaspoonful, but virtually nothing else, so a useful item for adding flavour when on a diet. The bottle should be stored in a cool dry place and refrigerated once it has been opened, and it is advised it should be used within 4 weeks after opening. I hold my hands up and say Guilty, as I've used it after this time and am still alive to tell the tale! Not that I advise you to do as I do! It doesn't taste or smell as strong as fresh lemon juice but it is a useful replacement. What can it be used for? I like to cook fish wrapped in foil and baked in the oven, I usually splash a little olive oil on the foil, pop the fish on top - may be Sea Bass, Cod, Salmon, some ground pepper or herbs and a good splash of lemon juice, fold the foil tightly and bake at Reg 5/6 for 20 -30 minutes depending on the depth of the fish. Lemon juice can be added when making your own Mayonnaise, so much nicer than bought varieties and in making a French dressing for salad. I like baking and Ginger muffins with a lemon icing are really lovely. I do prefer to use proper lemons when I make lemon drizzle cake, but have used bottled lemon juice occasionally. I always add some extra lemon juice when I make lemon and Parsley stuffing for chicken or Turkey. Lots of sauces need a teaspoon of lemon juice, as it cuts the grease so is a useful item. Lemon juice is useful for homemade uses and remedies too! A tablespoon of lemon juice added to some water in a bowl and heated in the microwave removes smells and makes it easier to wipe clean. It can be used as hair rinse when mixed with warm water, it will make it shine. I do remember sitting in the sun with lemon juice on my hair to lighten it when I was a teenager - not recommended if you have used colourants though! If your hands smell fishy or from garlic a little lemon juice can help remove the smell. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice, one of honey to warm water and sip to relieve a sore throat or coughing. When preparing apples or pears, some lemon juice sprinkled over the fruit or into some water with stop the fruit turning brown or when making fruit salad it works on bananas as well. A little rubbed over a cut Avocado stops it losing its colour too. So many uses for the contents of a small bottle which only costs 50pence.
I enjoy baking at home and I bought this to keep in the cupboard as a stand-by for when I don't have any fresh lemons in (which is a lot of the time!). One of my favourite cakes is Lemon Drizzle Cake so I can get through quite a lot of lemons and it's handy to have extra juice (for the Drizzle part). This product is supposed to be just lemon juice and can be used in exactly the same way, but I have to say it is a poor substitute for the real thing. It has a nasty chemically smell and taste, more reminiscent of a toilet cleaner than a "baking aid" and certainly not something that I would like my cakes to taste of. After using it a handful of times, I gave up on it as a bad choice and it ended up sitting in the back of my fridge until it went in the bin in my last clearout. Certainly a better place for it than in my cooking! Sorry Tesco, usually your own-brand goods are great but this one gets a big Thumbs Down.