The Lemon (limon) is a small evergreen tree 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. Their first introduction to Europe was by Arabs who brought them to Spain in the 11th century.
Lemons are more sensitive to cold than all other citrus trees and they need protection from frost. They require full sunlight and can tolerate a range of soils, including poor soil. They can make good house plants in a container with adequate drainage and room for growth. Most Lemon trees are perpetual trees, which means that there should be a continuous supply of Lemons and flowers.
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and were used to protect against scurvy. The major producers of Lemons are the USA, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel and Turkey.
One of the tricks to finding a good quality Lemon is to find thin-skinned ones, since those with thicker peels will have less flesh and therefore are less juicy. Choose Lemons that are heavy for their size with finely grained peel. They should be fully yellow as those that have green tinges will be more acidic due to the fact that they have not fully ripened. Lemons will stay fresh at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for about one week. If stored in the refrigerator crisper, they will keep for about four weeks. Lemon juice can be stored in ice cube trays and freezing. Store them in plastic bags in the freezer. Dried Lemon zest should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight glass container.
Lemons should be juiced at room temperature or placed in a bowl of warm water for several minutes. Rolling them under the palm of your hand on a flat surface will also help to extract more juice. For Lemon zest, make sure that you use fruit that is organically grown as most conventionally grown fruits will have pesticide residues on their skin. Make sure not to remove too much of the peel as the white pith underneath is bitter and should not be used.
Medicinal Uses For Lemons
Colds -the healing power of Lemons works both internally, by supplying Vitamin C to your defence cells and externally, through the application of its antiviral properties to the virus on the mucous membranes in the nose and throat.
Sore Throat – drink freshly squeezed juice of 1 Lemon in a glass of lukewarm water every 2 hours. Add the juice of 1 Lemon and 1 teaspoon (5ml) of sea salt to 1 cup (250ml) lukewarm water. Gargle three times a day for 1 minute to diminish the burning sensation.
Tonsillitis – gargle every 2 hours for at least 30 seconds with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 Lemon. Tilt the head back to allow the antibacterial and antiviral properties of the juice to flow into the back of the throat. You can swallow the juice when you have finished gargling thereby benefiting from an immune-boosting vitamin C shot.
Lemon juice is traditionally used in the UK in pancakes, especially on Shrove Tuesday.
As a Cleaning Agent
As my sister was told on ‘How Clean is Your House’, halved Lemon dipped in salt or baking powder is used to brighten copper cookware. She said that she preferred to have the lemon in her Gin & Tonic!
In the kitchen, Lemon juice can deodorize, remove grease, bleach stains, and disinfect. When mixed with baking soda, it removes stains from plastic food storage containers.
The oil of Lemon peel can be used as a wood cleaner and polish, where its solvent property is employed to dissolve old wax, fingerprints and grime.
Lemon oil can also be used as a non-toxic insecticide.