What is lemon pulp used for?

Lemon pulp refers to the soft, juicy flesh inside of lemons. It contains the juice vesicles and membranes that hold the acidic lemon juice. While many people discard lemon pulp after juicing, the pulp actually has many uses. In this article, we’ll explore what lemon pulp is and the various ways it can be used in cooking, around the home, and for health and beauty.

What is Lemon Pulp?

Lemon pulp is the stringy, soft material left over after lemons have been juiced. When you squeeze or juice a lemon, the liquid juice separates from the solid pulp. The pulp consists of the membranous parts of the lemon’s flesh along with juice vesicles – small sacs filled with lemon juice.

While the juicy part of lemon pulp contains valuable nutrients like vitamin C, most of the pulp’s mass comes from dietary fiber. The white pith or rind on the inside of lemons also becomes part of the pulp when lemons are juiced and squeezed.

Lemon pulp has a tart, sour taste due to the presence of citric and ascorbic acid. It also contributes a fresh, bright lemon flavor. The pulp has a soft, mushy texture punctuated by small bits of lemon seeds and tough membranes.

Nutritionally, lemon pulp is high in fiber, vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, beta carotene, and small amounts of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and copper.

Culinary Uses for Lemon Pulp

In the kitchen, lemon pulp can be used to add flavor, moisture, and bulk to recipes. Here are some of the most common ways to use lemon pulp in cooking and baking:

  • Add it to lemon curd or lemon butter for extra lemony flavor and texture.
  • Mix some pulp into lemon pie fillings, cheesecakes, custards, or pudding.
  • Stir lemon pulp into cake, muffin, scone, or cookie batters.
  • Blend pulp into lemon frosting, glazes, or buttercream.
  • Mix into lemon meringue pie filling before baking.
  • Add to bread or scone doughs for moisture and a faint citrus taste.
  • Use in place of part of the liquids in quick breads like banana bread or zucchini bread.
  • Whisk into vinaigrettes, marinades, and salad dressings.
  • Mix with mayo to make lemony aioli or sandwich spreads.

Keep in mind that the extra fiber from lemon pulp can change the texture in more delicate baked goods. Start by adding just a tablespoon or two of pulp to test the results.

Lemon Pulp Uses Around the Home

Aside from cooking, lemon pulp has many uses for cleaning, deodorizing, and fragrancing around the home:

  • Add lemon pulp to homemade all-purpose cleaner for extra grease-cutting power.
  • Mix with baking soda and use to scrub sinks, bathtubs, countertops, and other surfaces.
  • Stir into vinegar and use to clean windows, mirrors, and glass.
  • Toss down the garbage disposal to clean and deodorize.
  • Place small dishes of lemon pulp in the fridge, freezer, and garbage bins to absorb odors.
  • Mix with water in a spray bottle to freshen smelly drains or garbage cans.
  • Simmer lemon pulp with cinnamon and cloves to fill the home with a citrusy aroma.
  • Add to laundry in the wash or dryer cycle to naturally brighten whites and freshen clothes.

Health and Beauty Uses for Lemon Pulp

Lemon pulp also has many uses for health, beauty, and personal care:

  • Apply to the scalp and hair as a clarifying rinse to remove buildup and enhance shine.
  • Use as a natural exfoliant by mixing with sugar or salt to make a DIY body scrub.
  • Whisk into homemade face masks to brighten dull skin and tighten pores.
  • Add to bathwater for a refreshing soak that softens skin.
  • Mix with coconut or olive oil for a moisturizing lemon massage oil.
  • Dab onto blemishes or acne to promote healing.
  • Rub on nails to whiten and strengthen them.
  • Use as a mouthwash by mixing pulp with water to kill bacteria and freshen breath.

Preserving and Storing Leftover Lemon Pulp

Fresh lemon pulp only keeps for 2-3 days in the refrigerator before it starts to break down and get moldy. To preserve leftover pulp for later use, here are a few options:

  • Freezing: Place pulp in freezer bags or containers, removing as much air as possible. Frozen pulp keeps for 3-6 months.
  • Drying: Spread pulp on a parchment lined baking sheet and dry in a 200°F oven for 2-3 hours. Store dried pulp in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
  • Canning: Cook pulp with equal parts sugar to make lemon curd, then can using proper canning techniques. Canned lemon curd keeps for up to 1 year unopened.
  • Infusing in salt or sugar: Mix lemon pulp into salt or sugar, then spread to dry completely. Infused salt or sugar keeps for several months.

For best results, label and date any preserved lemon pulp. Use within the recommended timeframe for optimal freshness and flavor.

Buy Dried, Frozen, or Canned Lemon Pulp

Another option is to purchase prepared lemon pulp so it’s ready to use whenever you need it. Here are some places to buy dried, frozen, or canned lemon pulp:

  • Online stores like Amazon or food ingredient suppliers.
  • Natural food stores often sell dried lemon pulp.
  • Some freezer sections of grocery stores have frozen lemon juice concentrate containing pulp.
  • Specialty canning retailers may offer canned lemon curd with pulp.
  • Make your own by drying, freezing, or canning fresh lemon pulp.

Having some prepared lemon pulp on hand makes it easy to add this flavorful ingredient into both sweet and savory recipes.

Nutrition Facts for Lemon Pulp

Here is the nutrition breakdown for 1 cup (140g) of raw lemon pulp:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 60
Protein 1.6 g
Carbohydrates 16 g
Fiber 7 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Fat 0.3 g
Vitamin C 51 mg
Calcium 26 mg

As you can see, lemon pulp is low in calories, fat, and sugar. It provides a hefty dose of vitamin C and fiber with smaller amounts of calcium and carbohydrates. Harnessing the many benefits of leftover lemon pulp is an easy way to reduce food waste while adding nutrition and bright flavor to foods and homemade products.


Lemon pulp is the soft, stringy flesh left over after juicing lemons. Instead of throwing it away, lemon pulp can be used to add moistness, texture, and bright citrus flavor to all kinds of recipes. Around the home, it can help freshen laundry, clean surfaces, and deodorize garbage disposals and drains. For health and beauty, lemon pulp has many applications for hair care, skincare, and oral hygiene. And it provides a good amount of vitamin C, fiber, and plant compounds like citric acid. With so many uses, lemon pulp is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be easily incorporated into cooking, cleaning, DIY projects, and self-care routines.

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