Information about Lemons plus Lemon Recipe
Lemons c.limon belong to the plant family Rutaceae (citrus family)
which also includes fruit such as oranges and limes. They
are similar to limes with the same refreshing smell and tart flavour but are generally
larger and have a yellow skin when eaten. The whole of the fruit can be used for culinary purposes i.e. the
juice, skin (pericarp) and less often the pulp.
and History of Lemons
exact origin of the lemon is unclear but it is thought to have originated in
Southeast Asia where they have been cultivated for around 4,000 years as some
old Oriental writings would testify. The citron was carried to the Middle East
between 400 and 600 BC but it was the Arab traders in Asia who introduced lemons
to eastern Africa and the Middle East between 100 and 700 A.D..
Although lemons are widely associated with Italian/Mediterranean cooking, they
weren’t much used in that region until 1096-1271 A.D. by which time they had
been more widely distributed by the Arabs primarily in Spain and thereafter to
much of the rest of Western Europe with the aid of the Crusaders. By 1193 they
were prized for their medicinal qualities in the palace of the Sultan of Egypt
and by the mid fifteenth Century were being cultivated in Italy and other parts
of the Mediterranean.
By the late 1800’s the British Navy also appreciated the virtues of citrus fruit
to combat scurvy and all sailors were given rations of citrus whilst on long
voyages. Although this gave rise to the British being given the nickname
“limeys”, some believe that in fact they were using lemons which they believed
to be overripe limes. Perhaps then we should be called “lemonys”?
Good old Christopher Columbus carried lemon seeds from Europe to the New World
in 1493 and now about one quarter of the worlds lemons are grown in the USA,
primarily in California with other leading producers being, Italy, Spain,
Argentina, Greece, and Turkey.
Lemon trees are a relatively small evergreen tree which grow between 10 to 20
feet high. They can be grown in both dry and humid atmospheres, although humid
conditions do have disadvantages mainly in the processes of curing and storing
but are very sensitive to low temperatures so require a sub tropical climate to
Commercially lemon trees are grown in orchards or groves there the trees are
spaced about 25 ft apart as over crowded trees produce less fruit. The trees are
pruned early in their development and kept below 10 or 12 ft (3-3.6 m) in height
and they are often replaced or cut back severely after 12 years. Lemon trees
begin to bear fruit from three to six years after planting.
The trees flower continuously which means they bear fruit in all stages of
development for most of the year and this can lead to one tree producing 3,000
fruit in a year. Despite this, a lot of the fruit tends to naturally ripen in
autumn and winter so most of the fruit are picked whilst they are still green
and then ripened (cured) in storehouses ready for sale in the spring and summer.
Lemons required to be sold whole are generally hand picked due to the damage
which can be caused to the fruit by mechanical harvesting. Once picked the fruit
is stored for varying amounts of time depending on the degree of ripeness during
which time they shrink a bit and the skin becomes thinner, tougher and yellow.
They are often treated with fungicide as a precaution against stem-end rot .
Once cured they are washed, dried and sometimes wrapped or waxed at which point
they can be kept for many months.