Ask Marilyn – “Lemon Juice”

by Marilyn Markel in Learn

Have questions about a recipe, cooking techniques, cooking tools or ingredients? Hosting your first dinner party or holiday gathering and need some ideas or tips?

Marilyn, our Cooking School Manager, is here to answer all of your cooking questions. We will protect your anonymity so feel free to ask anything, even the questions you never dared to ask about cooking. From novice to pro, this advice column is for food people, by food people.

Ask the questions you want answered!

Email with subject, “Ask Marilyn”

Reader Question:

I have heard that fresh lemon juice is better for the flavor of dishes.  Do you prefer that over the lemon juice you buy already squeezed?
- Rebecca

Marilyn’s Answer:


I prefer fresh juice! It has a delicious flavor and does not have the chemical flavor that some of bottled varieties contain. It’s also a good idea to add zest to some dishes if you want a more intense citrus flavor. Citrus juice is a great addition to salad dressings, dips and all types of savory and sweet dishes. Zest can be fantastic in all types of dishes including pastries, tapenades, and all types of spreads. You can learn more about adding citrus to dishes in our class “Learn at Lunch: All about Citrus” in Chapel Hill on 11/1 at 12pm and in Mt Pleasant 11/15 1t 12pm. See the recipe below for one of my favorite dips!


Cannellini Bean Dip with Roasted Red Peppers and Dill

20 oz can cannellini beans, drained and raised
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, boiled for one minute
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup loosely packed dill leaves, chopped
1 whole piquant roasted red pepper, diced
crostini or crackers
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients (except oil, dill, and and red pepper flakes) in bowl of food processor
2. Pulse until chopped
3. With machine running, add oil slowly until puréed
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste