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Ingredient of the Week: Lemons

Posted by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 9:27 AM
  • 27 Replies

 The 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. 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.

 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 and Florida.

When buying lemons, go for brightly colored firm fruits which feel heavy for their size. Avoid any which look shrivelled or have with blemishes or decayed spots and those that feel soft.

Whole lemons will keep for up  to ten days in a plastic bag in the fridge although they may well last much longer. You can usually tell when a lemon is reaching the end of its storage life as the skin becomes more pitted and it starts to shrivel.

You can freeze lemon juice and the zest. Bear in mind that you will probably only use smaller quantities of lemon juice in most recipes, so it's a good idea to freeze the juice is usable amounts. Ice cube trays are very useful for this purpose.
Lemons are used in many many cuisines worldwide. In South America the juice is used in salsas and in the preparation of Ceviche,  in Africa (particularly North Africa)  the whole fruit is pickled and sometimes dried and added to savoury dishes and in North America and Europe the juice is often added to marinades,  salad dressings, fish dishes and many other  savoury and sweet dishes as well as many a cocktail. It also gives an extra lift to steamed or boiled vegetables especially when used with a little melted butter.

What is your favorite way to use lemons? Please share your methods and ideas and recipes.


by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 9:27 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 11:50 AM

i like to slice them up and put them on top of fish fillets and either bake or grill them. i also use the rind as a zest for certain meals.

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I love lemon! I make fresh lemon lavender snickerdoodles, lavender lemonade in the summer. I dry slices and grind it into powder for my lemon pudding mixes, its also great to add a tsp to water to flavor it.

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 4:15 PM
I use it for veggies, fish, and drinks :) I also love it for healing remedies such as a hot toddy or my witches brew for bronchial issues.
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by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 4:57 PM

In my water. :)

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I use lemon for everything! Window cleaner, hair cleaner, hair spray, everything!

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM

 I love to squeeze them on fish, or make lemonade. I really love to add the rind to baked goods.

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:57 PM

 I like to make lemon bars with them! 

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM
I love lemons! I love to use them in recipes and I also like to keep some sliced up in the fridge to add to my coke, iced tea or water. My daughter eats them like an orange, she will take a lemon wedge and suck the juice out then eat the pulp. She doesn't even pucker!
by on Apr. 25, 2011 at 12:44 AM

 I slice them up and put them in water, crystal light, sprite and even coke....I just love lemon!  Sometimes when I make my lemonade I add club soda and slices of lemon.

For dinner I love to make a Chicken Lemon Spaghetti Carbonara!  The fresh rind peel on top makes it so refreshing!  Oh and when most things call for lime I sub lemon because I hate limes!

by on Apr. 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

 Here is a recipe I plan to use this weekend for a Brunch Bridal Shower I am co-hosting with a yellow, black, and one color theme.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Adapted from Delish
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 teaspoon melted butter
powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk sour cream, buttermilk and lemon juice in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and lemon zest in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with sour cream/buttermilk mixture in 2 additions. Mix just until blended. Stir in poppy seeds. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 – 22 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans and cool on rack.
Mix together melted butter, lemon juice and enough powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle or pipe glaze over tops of warm muffins.

Makes 48 mini muffins or 12 large muffins.


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