Lemons are a tangy, bitingly sour fruit used to add an acidic balance to heavier ingredients in cooking. Not only can they accent salty-savory dishes, but they can be sweetened to include in a refreshing treat. Lemons are thought to originate from India but were brought to the Middle East and Africa by Arab traders. They were used as decoration until they made it to the New World and were used for Eastern/natural medicine. Lemons are used primarily for their juice in homemade salad dressings, soups, pasta, meat, beverages, and desserts.
Fun fact: Their zest holds most of the citrusy, fruity flavor without all the acid of the juice.
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
How to Shop
Choose a lemon that smells citrusy, has an unwrinkled yellow peel, feels solid, and does not have visible blemishes.
How to Grow
Where: Sunny area protected from high wind in a pot filled with well-draining soil.
How: Soak seeds in water overnight, then plant them in pre-moistened soil about ½ inch deep. Cover the pot with plastic so the plant can respirate for a few weeks. Remove the plastic when the seed germinates and continue to keep the pot in a warm, sunlit area. Fully soak the soil 1-2x/wk. Thin as needed.
Harvest: After 6-8 months when they are a vivid yellow color and 2-3 inches in diameter. Use gardening shears instead of pulling them off of the tree.
How to Store
At cool temperature for up to several weeks until they soften.