Which came first: the lemon or the lime? As history tells it, lemons originated as a cross between the lime and the citron. They’ve been cultivated in China and India for over 2500 years and only made their debut in the US with Christopher Columbus. They’ve been grown in Florida since the 16th century.
There are two main types of sour lemons: Eureka and Lisbon. Lisbon are neckless and seedless, whereas Eureka lemons have short necks and seeds. Sweet lemons are becoming more popular, especially the Meyer lemon variety.
Select lemons that feel heavy for their size and have smooth, thin skin, which indicates a juicier lemon. Choose lemons that are bright yellow and without blemishes or bruises. Lemons with any green tinges are underripe.
If you don’t intend to use your lemons within the week, pop them in your refrigerator's crisper drawer and they’ll keep for up to 4 weeks!
Next time you have a sore throat, reach for a lemon! Add the juice of one lemon to an equal amount of hot water for an anti-bacterial gargle.
Toss a few lemon peels and a handful of ice cubes into the garbage disposal to kill any funky odors.
Stir together equal parts honey and lemon for a clarifying 15-minute facial mask.
Scrub your cutting boards clean with a halved lemon and coarse salt.
Lemon's acidic taste is because of citric acid. Citric acid constitutes up to 8% in its juice. Citric acid is a natural preservative, aids in smooth digestion, and helps dissolve kidney stones.
The acid in lemon juice helps in marinades to break down the meat, allowing flavors and moisture to soak in. As the meat breaks down, it undergoes the same process as when it’s cooked over heat, called denaturation. The toughness from over-marinating meat is the same as overcooking it.
When adding lemon to a cooked dish such as soup, wait to stir it in until the very end to keep the flavors fresh and bright.
To get the most juice out of your lemon, juice it at room temperature after rolling it under your palm against a flat surface, or microwave for 20 seconds if you’re removing it from the fridge.
Lemon peels provide lots of flavor because that’s where the fruit’s oil is. Zest a lemon by grating the outer yellow layer of skin (avoid the white pith, which is bitter) onto your dish for a boost of flavor with much less tart acidity than the juice.
Skip the bottled stuff in favor of a simple lemon vinaigrette with olive oil, a dash of honey, and salt & pepper.
Lemon juice prevents browning (aka oxidation), so squeeze it onto your sliced avocados and apples.
Lemon juice can help prevent kidney stones by elevating citrate levels.
Swapping coffee for a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning can help promote healthy digestion and squeeze in your daily dose of vitamin C!
Lemons are also a good source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and folates, which the body can only get from external sources to replenish.
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