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A Zest for Lemons

Can you imagine life without lemons? From iced tea to icebox pie, lemon adds a spark of flavor that is simply irreplaceable. Cooks everywhere recognize the culinary value of lemon – not only for its own refreshing taste, but also for the way it brings out flavors in other foods.

Lemon enhances the flavor of breads, salads, salad dressings, fish, chicken, vegetables and even other fruits like melons. A squeeze of lemon juice livens up beverages like iced tea, tomato juice and, of course, lemonade. There may be no other fruit as versatile.

But for all the wonderful uses of lemons, baking has to be high on the list. Making something sweet out of a naturally tart fruit is simply magic. Valued for its refreshing flavor, lemon pies, cakes, cookies and sauces are among our favorite desserts. Lemon curd and the filling for a lemon pie are basically thickened and sweetened lemon juice. A little lemon juice and grated peel contribute a more subtle flavor to cakes, cookies and breads. And sometimes lemon is the secret ingredient in a fruit cobbler or pie that provides a special little flavor boost.

You can never go wrong with Lemon Cheesecake Bars. These bars feature a buttery cookie crust topped with a lemony cream cheese layer — the perfect refreshing finish to a spring get-together.

What are some of your favorite ways to use lemons?

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