The Lemon Juice Edition (BBB)


Why do canning recipes call for bottled lemon juice instead of fresh? This is one of the frequently asked questions for new home canners. Isn’t fresh lemon juice, well, fresher, and isn’t that part of the reason we’re canning, to preserve the best, most natural, most fresh food possible to provide for our families?

The USDA recommends bottled lemon juice because of the consistency of the pH in the standardized production process. Fresh lemons may vary in pH. This is particularly important when canning low acid vegetables such as tomatoes, but not as important when canning fruits. This is why if you look in the Ball Blue Book at a stewed tomato recipe, it calls for bottled lemon juice specifically, but if you look at strawberry jam, it simply calls for lemon juice. Sometimes a recipe you find posted on the web or a hand-scrawled recipe given to you by a friend may not be as specific, so it’s important to know the difference. In a jam recipe, the lemon juice is there to help with the set while in a low acid vegetable or tomato recipe (or a recipe with a mix of ingredients that includes low acid items), the lemon juice is there to lower the pH. So go ahead, use the fresh-squeezed lemon in your fruits, but don’t forget to have the bottle on-hand for other recipes where it’s required. (You can also use 1/4 teaspoon citric acid in place of every 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice called for in a recipe, if you prefer.)


Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by Billie at No Crack Cream. You can visit her here.

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (April 7). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (April 8). Return to this post to claim your book if your name is drawn (or check the BBB Winners List).

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

UPDATE 04/08/11: The winning comment number, drawn by, is #27, jenni. Email me at CITRgiveaways(at) with your full name and address for shipping!



  1. Kristen says:

    Oh, the things I learn lurking here.

    BBB, please. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a grand day and may the sun shine for you, too.

  2. cricketjett says:

    BBB, please!!

  3. zeitgewandt says:

    hm, that makes sense.. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚
    BBB please!

  4. Blessing from a Wildflower says:

    Thanks for the Lemon Information…I will write inside cover of BBB if I win…..Please! ~~HUGS~~

  5. Enjay says:

    You can also use bottled lime juice as a substitute for bottled lemon juice. I love it in my salsa.

  6. Enjay says:

    I forgot to say BBB!

  7. Jean - MN says:

    Who knew? Thanks for the info. Thank you to Billie too! BBB Please!

  8. morningstar says:

    I love lemons such a wonderful fruit. Many thanks for the info it is really useful. Please enter me for the BBB thank you.

  9. Kathy in FL says:

    Learn something new every day! BBB, please.

  10. Tracey In Paradise Pa. says:

    :duck: great to know..thanks for sharing..
    granny trace

  11. judydee says:

    Didn’t know this. Thanks. Please enter me for the BBB.

  12. Suzanne_Arlene says:

    Thank You for the info BBB Please

  13. Barbie says:

    Thanks for the information on lemons!!! I didn’t know that. BBB please!! :chicken:

  14. Trudy says:

    Enter me, please, for the BBB….

  15. Lindsay says:

    Oooo good info, I didn’t know that! I’ve never canned tomatoes except salsa (and Enjay, I DO use lime, you’re right, it’s delicious!) and I use the crazytart lemons from our neighbor’s tree in my jams. Sooo sour, and sooo tasty! BBB please! :sun:

  16. ELS says:

    How interesting! I plan on canning for the first time this summer, and would love to be entered in the BBB giveaway!

  17. Jana NC says:

    Would love a BBB!

  18. Rockyshore says:

    BBB me, please.

  19. Kelly Jo Kirby says:

    I so want the BOOK! Thanks for answering a question I also had on lemon juice. You are the best!

  20. Peggy says:

    Interesting Lemeon Juice information. I never thought about lemons having different pH level from one lemon to another. I know that tomato varieties vary and should have know the same about lemons. BBB please

  21. Megan Duff says:

    bbb, please and thank you!!

  22. kjl says:

    Good morning Suzanne, Glad to see you survived the storms!
    Please enter me for the BBB… I would love to have it!!!

  23. justdeborah2002 says:

    I learn something new every day…BBB please!

  24. jenni says:

    BBB please. it is a quilting day today but hopefully canning soon!

  25. Mary says:

    Draw me! Draw me! (BBB)

  26. lilac wolf says:

    Ok I’m gonna give it another try…BBB. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Good to know about lemon juice too.

  27. Hamp Girl says:

    BBB please!

  28. windspiritwhimsies says:

    Never canned before, but would like to try this summer. Thanks for all the information. I learn something fun & new everyday! Would love the BBB please! :pinkbunny:

  29. langela says:

    Enter me please. BBB!

  30. mika says:

    After looking at all the delicious recipes on this site, I want to try my hand at many of them–including “putting up” some pickles this year! So of course I would love to win the BBB!

  31. Gem says:

    Its GOTTA be ME for the BBB!

  32. Laura Pintor says:

    I’ll try to win the book, again:) Please enter my name, and thanks! Maggie

  33. prayingpup says:

    That was great information. I, also, use lime juice for my salsa. BBB please!

  34. Jennifer Foery says:

    I’d love one of the BBB. I hope to have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year and would love to learn to can them

  35. Patricialynn says:

    BBB please!

    It’s a good thing to know, the lemon juice thing. I wouldn’t even have thought that lemon juice was used in canned tomatoes!

  36. Mary says:

    Please enter me for the BBB!

  37. Shonda judy says:

    Finally an explanation that makes sense. You ARE so the tart! I really need a new BBB…mine is about 18 years old.

  38. Zusiqu says:

    Thank you for the information on lemon ~ it was VERY helpful! BBB please?

  39. Anke says:

    I learned something new today, thanks for sharing that.
    BBB pretty please.

  40. Mary says:

    yes, would love a BBB!

  41. judithann says:

    Thanks for that info. I’m brand-new to canning and didn’t know that! BBB, please…

  42. Cindy says:

    Enter me in the BBB drawing please!

  43. gfoulds says:

    Would love the BBB !! Please and Thank You ..

  44. Rachel says:

    Who knew!? Thanks for the info! BBB please!

  45. Abiga/Karen says:

    Me…..BBB please! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  46. Gerry says:

    Thanks for the lemon juice lesson. BBB please!

  47. Lydia Gray says:

    Huh…who would have thought the Ph wouldn’t remain consistant, but I guess now that I’ve read it, it makes sense. Just like the essential oils may not be consistant in different plants of the same species. I guess it depends on how and where it’s grown? Very interesting read this morning. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚


  48. mammaleigh says:

    Never knew that! I am probably sure that my mom didn’t either…I can teach her this summer! I would love to be entered in the drawing.

  49. heidiannie says:

    I think there is room in the world for both fresh and bottled lemon juice.
    Just don’t give me bottled juice to go with my tea.
    I’d like to be entered in the BBB, please.

  50. momof3inOKLA says:

    Good Information, thanks for sharing. BBB please

  51. Mim says:

    enter me please :pawprint:

  52. Bonnie says:

    Who knew? BBB, please.

  53. Pam says:

    One more try for a BBB!

  54. Vivian says:

    Hi, love your blog, you inspire me do the same, I have 1 acre an so far only a big garden and 27 chickens, hopefully I’ll keep adding!!! I would love a copy of the book, BBB!!

  55. ladychef68 says:

    Okay, so are there recipes to can(bottle) your own lemon juice? lol
    It will probably be another couple of years before my tree is big enough for that.
    Thanks for the chance Suzanne and Billie.

  56. Jennifer S. says:

    BBB please!

  57. Mountain Sunshine says:

    Would love a copy of BBB…love to can and new recipes keep me excited about it!

  58. hollygee says:

    Thanks for that information. I’d like the BBB.

  59. Jennifer B says:

    I, too, had always wondered about the lemon juice. I had assumed it was so you could measure consistently, but I hadn’t thought about Ph.

    And I really hope this time is my chance to win! BBB

  60. Tina says:

    BBB Pleeeeez! ๐Ÿ˜€

  61. Sheepie-girl says:

    Please pick ME for the BBB!!!

  62. Lori Dunn says:

    BBB I need a new book.
    You are a wealth of knowledge!!! Thanks

  63. Debbie says:

    I’m going to keep trying for a BBB until I get one! Love this site! It’s my daily dose of HAPPY!

  64. Donna I. says:

    BBB please, I would love this book!

  65. Lynette says:

    Would love a chance to win the BBB! Thanks for all of your useful information :chicken:

  66. Christina Bredenkamp says:

    Include me in the BBB drawing!

  67. Hilary says:

    I want it ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. Laurie says:

    Good info! BBB please!

  69. Ruth C says:

    Luscious lemons! Sign me up for the BBB, please!

  70. Crystal George says:

    Good info, as always…enter me please!

  71. LeAnn says:

    I’m always learning something at CITR. Thank you! Oh, and BBB please.

  72. AnnieB says:

    Alwalys learning here! BBB Please!!!!

  73. brookdale says:

    Thanks for the lemon info…who knew?
    And thanks to Billie…BBB please!!!

  74. Nadeanne says:

    Oh please, please pick me for a BBB!!!

  75. Kat J, Arizona says:

    BBB, please. :moo:

  76. Nancy Stickler says:

    I’ve never heard that, good to know…. I guess I do need a BBB!

  77. chives says:

    Good info. Enter me in the bbb please

  78. Miss Becky says:

    well, this is didn’t know, so thanks for telling me this Suzanne. it’s very interesting and a good thing to know. thanks to Billie for sponsoring this giveaway! BBB!

  79. Diane says:

    What a great tip! I did not know there was a difference. I always have citric acid on hand, thank you. BBB

  80. Ramona Slocum says:

    Please put me in the BBB drawing. Thanks.

  81. Trica in TEXAS says:

    BBB Please pick ME!!! :purpleflower:

  82. Terri - LA says:

    I always learn so much on this website. Thanks for the info on lemon juice!& please enter me in the BBB drawing. Thanks!

  83. Betsy says:

    Please enter me in the BBB drawing, thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  84. Alison says:

    Thanks for the information. I would love the BBB.
    Need to learn more !

  85. marymac says:

    pleas enter me in the BBB

  86. Merino Mama says:

    That’s pretty interesting. I did not know. BBB

  87. Bebop says:

    Would like to be entered for BBB! Please!

  88. CrystalGB says:

    Great post. I would love to have the BBB.

  89. Carmell says:

    :wave: ME ME ME!!! BB PLEAS!!!


  90. Carmell says:

    BBB ….. :shocked:

  91. Mindy W. says:

    Thanks for the info. (BBB)

  92. Sharon Dziekonski says:

    Interesting. I love the “science” of cooking. Please enter me in the drawing for the BBB!

  93. Carol in NC says:

    I usually use citric acid just to be sure. Now I know why! BBB please. Thanks!

  94. Richelle says:

    Yes, BBB please!

  95. Debbie R says:

    Ah, so that’s why. Thanks! BBB please!

  96. GrammieEarth says:

    BBB Please!
    I saw the Lemon Chess Pie post earlier today and am determined to try it soon. I might :hungry: even take some of it out to my son and family. Maybe.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Pam

  97. Ashlee says:

    Thanks for the info! I had no idea. BBB Please ๐Ÿ™‚

  98. Janice Jewett says:

    please enter me for a BBB.

  99. Susan in Wisconsin says:

    I love all the recipes. Especially the hints or tips, like using citric acid instead of lemon juice. But I really, really enjoy all the animal pictures…and the fact that they talk to you. You are so lucky. BBB please.

  100. GaPeach says:

    BBB, please!

  101. Amy Jane says:

    Wow, I have learned SO MUCH about canning from this webite in the last year or so. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’d love to be entered for the BBB, please ๐Ÿ™‚

  102. Tracy Byers says:

    BBB Please!

  103. Pam C in Canada says:

    Interesting :). I like lemons. And I want a BBB! Maybe this year I can do some canning stuff :).

  104. Rebecca Sutherland says:

    I love this site thank you I have made the no-kneed bread weekly since you posted it my family loves it! BBB

  105. WolfWalker says:

    BBB Please.

  106. Mary Hall says:

    :sun: Hi Suzanne, please enter me in the BBB.
    Mary :shocked:

  107. Rosemeri says:

    Thank you. I have wondered about that. BBB please.

  108. ktlovespie says:

    Mmm. I love lemons.

    BBB please

  109. Glenie says:

    Please, Please BBB.

  110. Pat says:

    I learn so much from this site. Keep up the excellent work!!
    BBB please.

  111. Karen says:

    More often than not, I use bottled lemon juice in just about everything calling for “fresh” lemon juice! BBB ๐Ÿ™‚

  112. Martha in KS says:

    Didn’t know that. I always use fresh lemon juice. Guess that’s why I need the BBB.

    Here’s what I like to do with lemon juice.

  113. Lee in KY says:

    BBB, please.

  114. LisaAJB says:

    I always use the jar of lemon juice for my canned tomatoes, but my elderly neighbor tells me that the reason the pH is so low in tomatoes is because we’ve bred it out the them. According to her, back when everyone used heirlooms, they didn’t add any acid to their jars. BBB please!

  115. annabel52 says:

    I feel lucky. BBB please!!

  116. Kristine says:

    BBB please!!! :purpleflower:

  117. oddgirl says:

    BBB Pretty please.

  118. Kathleen H in Indiana says:

    I would love the BBB! Thanks for the opportunity.

  119. peggy miller says:

    I would love to have it.

  120. Linda Goble says:

    Thanks for the info Suzanne! Please enter me in the BBB. Please. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :snoopy: :happyfeet:

  121. Barbara W says:

    Pick me, Pick me, BBB Please.

  122. Renee says:

    Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize there was such a difference between fresh vs bottled; I just knew that some recipes were very specific about which you should use. BBB, pls!

  123. Mafong says:

    I’m glad to see that I am not the only one who didn’t this! BBB please.

  124. Laura Newton says:

    please enter me

  125. Robyn says:

    I always learn something new here! Enter me please! BBB!!!

  126. Barbara at AtLast says:

    BBB please

  127. SuzzyQ says:

    Thanks, Billie and of course, Suzanne for the chance to win the BBB.

  128. Jennifer Mossman says:


  129. Trina says:

    I have been loving this site and have always wanted to try canning but have never been brave enough..haha. Thanks for all the good info
    BBB drawing–thank you so much

  130. farmershae says:

    BBB me please!

  131. Sally says:

    Thanks Suzann,
    I’m one who likes to know “Why”. Now I do! BBB please

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