If you are cooking a dish and find the salt you’ve added isn’t enough, try a squirt of lemon juice instead, recommends Eugenia Bone, author of several cookbooks, including The Kitchen Ecosystem (Clarkson Potter, 2014). Often what your taste buds are looking for is a flavor enhancement, which is exactly what lemon juice delivers. In fact, if you are out of salt or are trying to minimize sodium, you can replace it with half as much lemon juice, she adds. It will add a similar bright taste.

How to Juice a Lemon

There’s nothing worse than getting a stinging squirt in the eye when trying to juice a lemon. Here are some tricks to “safely” extract every last drop.

Technique1. Roll the lemon back and forth on your counter under the palm of your hand to massage it. Rolling bursts open some of the inside segments, so you’ll get more juice out of it and less chance of squirting.

Technique2. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze into your cupped hand to capture the pits; let the juice dribble through your fingers into your dish.

Don’t let the skin go to waste

 Zest the lemon first, either in strips with a citrus zester tool or by grating with a fine grater. Zest freezes beautifully in a little jar, and is great to have on hand to add to soups and stews for flavor. Before zesting, scrub the lemon in soapy water, rinse well and dry; most lemons are waxed to extend their shelf life. Be sure to grate only the outer yellow portion of the skin; the white pith on the inside will give your dish a bitter taste.