Saturday, 6 December 2008 | Tags:

Lemons are a citrusy blast of sweet, tart, and sour. Whether used as a garnish or the main ingredient in beverages, or as a flavour boost to a savoury dish or sweet baked item, lemons are versatile fruit to have in your pantry. Here are some lemony tips you should know:

The Basics

  • The juiciest lemons tend to be smaller, heavy for their size, and have shiny, smooth skin.

  • Lemons also have many health benefits:

    • An average lemon supplies approx. 30% of an average person’s daily nutrient requirement of vitamin C.

    • Lemons help digestion, and also encourage the absorption of calcium and iron from natural foods.

  • The lemon’s flavour and aroma mainly comes from the oil (zest) found in the peel.

Cooking Tips

  • A trick for getting the most juice out of your lemon:

    • Roll back and forth it with your hands on a flat surface for 20 seconds

    • Then place it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

    • This trick should yield about 3 to 4 tablespoons of juice per lemon.

  • When a recipe calls for lemon zest (grated lemon peel), choose certified organic lemons so they’re free of pesticides.

  • Add lemon juice to sauces to bring flavours together and give a glossy finish.

  • Vitamin C in lemons can break down during the cooking process. To prevent the loss of vitamin C, add lemon juice just before serving the dish.

  • For fluffier rice, add some lemon juice to the cooking water.

  • If you’re cutting delicate fresh fruit and vegetables ahead of time (e.g. apples, bananas, and avocados), dip them in 1 cup water mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice to prevent browning.

  • Lemon juice is used with fish to help neutralize the fishy odour.

  • Use lemon juice in a marinade to help tenderize meat.

  • If you’re planning to zest a lemon, look for pesticide-free or certified organic fruit, since the skin is where pesticides can build up.

Other Tips

  • Use a slice of lemon dipped in salt to clean copper pots and other copper items, then rinse and dry with a clean cloth.

  • Lemon juice has also been used to lighten hair.

  • Lemon oil, extracted from the lemon rind, is a popular aromatherapy ingredient, said to lighten the mood,

  • During the European Renaissance, fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips. The citric acid in the lemons irritates the lip skin, and so causes redness.


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