Week 4: Lemons
Lemons were originally developed as a cross between the lime and the citron and are thought to have originated in China or India, having been cultivated in these regions for about 2,500 years. Like many other fruits and vegetables, lemons were brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus in his second voyage to the New World in 1493
While most lemons are tart, acidic and astringent, they are also surprisingly refreshing. The two main types of sour lemons are the Eureka and the Lisbon. In addition to these sour lemons, there are also some varieties that are sweet in flavor. One notable example is the Meyer lemon that is becoming more popular in both markets and restaurants.
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of folate (vitamin B9).
Antioxidant properties- through unique flavonoids and vitamin C.
Anti-cancer properties- In animal studies and laboratory tests with human cells, compounds called limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
Immune fighting properties- through vitamin C.
Selection and Storage:
Aim to find lemons that are rather thin-skinned because they will tend to have more flesh and be juicier. Choose lemons that are heavy in weight with finely grained textured skin. They should be fully yellow, any green coloring depicts not fully ripened fruit and will therefore be more acidic in taste.
Lemons will stay fresh kept at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for about one week. If you will not be using them within this time period, you can store the lemons in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep for about four weeks.
Tips for using lemons:
To obtain more juice from the lemons, it is best to juice them when they are at room temperature. If your recipe calls for the zest (scrapings of the colored part of the skin) of lemon, make sure to use fruit that is organically grown.
Oxalates: Lemon peels have been shown to include high levels of oxalates, while the juice of the fruit is actually low in oxalates. When foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates (naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings), become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid or limit the zest of lemons.