Lemons are yellow ellipsoidal fruits that are borne of the evergreen lemon tree. They exist in a variety of species, including Bonnie Brae, the Eureka, Sorrento, bush lemon and the Ponderosa lemon. The list is long. They have a sour taste because of the citric acid content but some species like the Meyer lemons have a sweet taste.
How to Select Lemons
Fully ripe and fully yellow lemons are more beneficial nutritionally and medicinally than those with green tinges. For this reason, whenever selecting lemons for either juicing or zesting, those that are fully ripe are good to go. Selection of lemons is also guided by the use of the lemons. For instance, heavy unblemished lemons are good for juicing while unwaxed lemons with thick knobby skin are good for zesting. Those with smooth thin skin will make perfect wedges. Always avoid pale and over mature lemons as their nutritional and medicinal content is normally in compromised state.
How to Store Lemons
If kept at room temperature, away from exposure to direct sunlight, lemons can remain fresh for about a week or two. However, if they will be used after 2 weeks, it is advisable to store them in a refrigerator. Lemon juices and zests can also be stored for future use. In this case, freezing is the most appropriate storage method.
Different Ways to Cook Lemons
Although lemons have a sour taste, they have found their way into a variety of cuisines in the modern world. Perhaps this is the reason behind the proliferation of several lemon dishes, soups, sauces, condiments and beverages. The most common lemon dishes include variations of fruit curd, galaktoboureko, lemon chicken, lemon chiffon cake, lemon meringue pie and lemon tart, to name but a few. Lemon soups and sauces include aioli, avgolemono, clam sauce, preserved lemon, kabkabou and sauce vierge. Barley water, bitter lemon, lemonade, lemonette, limoncello, lemon liqueur as well as lemon and paeroa are some of the lemon beverages in use today.
Fish served with a few fresh wedges of lemon is perhaps one of the most popular lemon-laden meals. The lemon slices serve those watching their salt intake right, as they are good substitutes for salt. Moreover, they can also be baked or broiled so that they can be eaten together with the fish. A dressing of a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and pepper is the icing on the cake. Additionally, lemon juice can be used to make marinades for fish, where the meat is tenderized.
Lemon extracts can also be added to pancakes and to avocados, apples and bananas as a preservative. Most Indian and Moroccan cuisines feature a great deal of preserved lemons. Concisely, all lemon-laden foods encapsulate the nutritional and medicinal profiles that we have already discussed. It is always advisable to wash lemons before juicing or zesting them, so that you can eliminate the bacteria or other disease causing organisms living on the fruit cover. It is also important to dip the lemon in hot water before juicing it for higher lemon juice amounts. Obviously, you have to remove the seeds whether you are using a juicer, a reamer or you are juicing by hand.
Lemons contain almost all the essential minerals and vitamins that our bodies need. They contain energy, sugars, dietary fiber, fat and proteins. They also contain Thiamine, Riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate and choline. Obviously, we cannot forget the vitamin C content in lemons, coupled with appropriate amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. All these minerals work towards keeping the human body in the pink of health.
Lemons have far-reaching desirable health benefits that one cannot afford to miss. They are rich in citric acid, which supplies the body with vitamin C. Further, vitamin C combines with the antibacterial and antiviral and agents in lemons to create a reliable immune-system booster. Weight watchers cannot avoid lemons if they envision losing substantial pounds of weight. This is because lemon juice cleanses both the digestive system and the liver. Its sour taste is undeniable, but as we all know, bitter pills may have blessed effects.
First, lemons are suitable for manufacture of Indian traditional medicines, Ayurveda and siddha medicines since they are antiviral and antibiotic. Their vitamin C content works against the effects of colds, sore throats and tonsillitis. In this case, the patient is advised to gargle a mixture of fresh lemon juice and lukewarm water for about 30 seconds, and then swallow the mixture. This procedure also assists in keeping cankers at bay as well as eliminating fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, fever, tension and nervousness. On the other hand, lemon poultices and lemon essential oil are good treatments for corns, calluses, acne and eczema.
The aromatherapy feature of lemons makes them suitable for use in reversing halitosis and refreshing the scent in offices and homes. Food spices, cigarettes and alcohol can conspire to bring about bad breath but with a lemon slice after every meal, this is no more. Lemons extracts pulverize pain, smite bug bites and fights spider and varicose veins. It is worth noting that a mixture of lemon, garlic and onions reduces the risks of catching hypertension. Insomnia patients will also be delighted to learn that lemon balm conspires with valerian and chamomile herbs to replace sleep-impairing effects with sleep-inducing ones.
Antioxidant and Antibiotic Effects
Lemons also contain flavonoid compounds that reduce the risks of catching cancers. Lemons contain a limonoid called limonin which undermines the proliferation of cancerous cells in the skin, the mouth, stomach, lungs, colon and the breasts. They also abate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and lowers the accumulation of cholesterol in the body as well as preventing diabetic heart disease attacks.