Lemons are almost invariably purchased for the juice that they contain, which is why it’s so disappointing if you cut a lemon open and find that it has gone dry inside. Lemon juice is a major component of many recipes, so how can you avoid this?
Dry lemons can occur as a result of being left on the tree for too long, but they may also be a result of poor watering technique. Sometimes, lemons are dry when they have been attacked by a certain kind of insect, and sometimes they dry up in your fruit bowl as the moisture gradually evaporates from them.
There are quite a lot of reasons, so we’re going to explore them all in more detail. This should make it easier to recognize what’s going wrong with your lemons!
Why Do Lemons Go Dry Inside?
If you keep finding lemons that have turned dry inside, there are a few possible explanations for this, and understanding them may help you to feel less frustrated – especially if you are growing the lemons yourself and you can control their conditions. Some of the things that cause dryness in lemons include:
- Being left on the tree for too long
- Too little water
- Infrequent watering
- Insect damage
- Being left in the fruit bowl for too long
Any of these things, or a combination of them, might cause dryness, so if you grow your lemons, it’s very worth being aware of them. You can still use a lemon that is dry inside, but you will get a lot less value for the work that you have put into it, so it’s best to produce juicy lemons if you can.
Fortunately, if you understand the things that can cause dryness, it’s a lot easier to counteract these conditions, and ensure that your lemons come out juicy year after year! With that in mind, let’s explore the above conditions in more detail.
Being Left On The Tree For Too Long
Sometimes, if you don’t pick lemons when they are ready, they will start to become overly ripe, and this leads to them drying out. The juice that was in the lemon when it first became ready to pick will be diverted to other sources or will evaporate, and the inside of the lemon will become pithy and tough.
It is a good idea to pick lemons as soon as they are ready to minimize the risk of this happening.
Too Little Water
If your lemon tree is constantly thirsty, it won’t produce lemons that are full of juice, so this is an important thing to address. The tree cannot put lots of moisture into the fruits it produces if it doesn’t have access to moisture itself.
You should therefore make sure you are giving the tree enough water to keep it happy. You don’t want to drown it, but you do want to make sure it is getting enough to drink throughout the hot summer months.
Even if you are providing your lemon tree with plenty to drink when you give it water, it may still produce dry fruit if the watering sessions are too infrequent. You should make a point of regularly giving the tree a drink, especially during long dry spells.
Although citrus trees don’t like to be kept wet, infrequent watering can be a major issue, particularly if you live in the sort of hot climate where lemon trees usually thrive. Try to water your lemon tree on a fairly regular basis, or irrigate the ground where it grows.
Sometimes, a dry lemon is the result of an insect known as the bronze orange bug. This insect, as its name suggests, feeds mostly on the juice of citrus fruits, and it will suck this juice out of the lemon, leaving a dry, unpleasant patch of pith behind.
In some cases, the lemon will turn brown around the area where the insect inserted its mouthparts, and it may also become sticky and gummy. These are signs that your tree has been infested with these insects, and pest control may be necessary.
Being Left In The Fruit Bowl For Too Long
When lemons are left at room temperature for too long, they quickly become desiccated, even if they were juicy when you purchased them. Lemons don’t like to be stored in warm conditions, and the liquid inside the fruit will be lost to the surrounding air surprisingly quickly.
You will see the lemon starting to shrivel up and its skin becoming tough as this happens, and when you cut it open, you’ll find that a lot of the juice has gone. This is annoying because often people want a supply of lemons handy, but may not want to use them up immediately.
Fortunately, you can address this by keeping your lemons in the fridge. They will retain their moisture and texture far better in this environment than they will in the fruit bowl, so this is a great way to preserve them.
Can You Revitalize A Dry Lemon?
Once a lemon has gone dry, there’s not much you can do. You can sometimes increase the amount of juice that you can get from it by microwaving the lemon, or by softening it in hot water for about half an hour – but you can’t make the lemon juicier.
This is why it’s important to recognize if there is a problem with your lemon tree or to choose juicy lemons at the store and keep them in the fridge so that they stay juicy for as long as possible. Dry lemons should be used up or thrown away, because you cannot refresh them once their juice has gone.
Nobody wants dry lemons in their fruit bowl, so it’s a good idea to make sure your tree is getting enough water and you are picking the lemons as soon as they are ripe. Select juicy, firm lemons in the store, and keep them in the fridge – and you’ll never have to deal with a dry lemon again!