Lemons


By Jennifer A. Wickes
Copyright 2004

Geography
The lemon originanted from South-East Asia, possibly India or Malaysia. Now, they are grown in tropical and temperate locations around the world, with California being the USA’s major producer.

Season
Lemons are available throughout the year.

How to Select
Lemons are yellow, oval citrus fruits. They are juicy and acidic. They can be as small as an egg, and as large as a grapefruit. They can have thin or thick skins. Choose brightly colored fruit, with a smooth skin and no sign of greenness. They should be firm, plump and heavy for its size.

Storage
Seal in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Nutritional Qualities
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, but loses much of this shortly after being squeezed. Sailors used to travel with lemons to help prevent scurvy.

Trivia
In the past, lemons were used as a remedy for epilepsy, it was also used as toothpaste, invisible ink and as a bleaching agent.

They were used to help make lips red, and to prevent wrinkles.

In Pagan religions, lemons symbolize longevity, purification, love and friendship.

The essential oil of lemons are know to have anti-infectious, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. Hence, this is the reason a lot of cleaning products are lemon-scented.

The scent of lemons are noted to promote clarity of thought and is known to be stimulating.

Lemons are also warming. So, despite lemonade being a refreshing drink in the summertime, lemons, as well as other citrus fruits can warm your body.

Wine Pairings
Chardonnay, Fume Blanc.

Spices
Garlic, thyme

Equivalencies
1 lb. = 4 – 6 medium lemons = 1 c. juice
1 medium lemon = 3 tbsp. juice / 2 – 3 tsp. zest

Substitution
1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/2 tsp. vinegar

Preparation
When juicing a lemon, roll the room-temperature fruit on the counter while pressing firmly. This will help break the membranes inside the lemon and release the juices. Then, cut in half. Using a wooden reamer or a fork, insert in the lemon and twist.

Additional Information
The juice of lemons can be frozen. Try freezing the juice in ice cube trays.

Frozen “spent shells” can be used to help keep certain produce (such as apples, bananas and potatoes) from turning brown.

Whole lemons can be frozen to be used for juice at a later date.

Use a toothbrush to clean the grater when needing zest in a recipe.

The pectin in lemons helps in jam making, jelly making, marmalade making or when wanting a more gelled cranberry sauce. Start off by adding 1 teaspoon of juice.

The acid content in lemons, makes them perfect for tenderizing poultry. Other products with high acid contents, such as vinegar and wine, are better for red meat, but can also be used for poultry.

In South America, ceviche is a fish dish that is marinated in lemon juice, lime juice and/or vinegar. The acid “cooks” the fish.

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