Did you know that lemon was the gift to the world from India/South Asia? Even today, India is the largest producer of lemons. Lime is something that we consume directly (lemon juice, for example) and indirectly (cooking, garnishing, etc). Let us learn some interesting and useful things about lemon, in this article.
It seems, lemon is a fruit and not a vegetable (I was pretty confused about this one!). My first encounter with a lemon tree (lemon plant, actually) was when some of our relatives gave some big lemons and asked us to sow the seeds in the garden, as that variety of lemon was rare (and big). Since we were kids then, we enthusiastically went and put it in our small garden. Surprise – One seed grew into a rather big lemon plant!
I can’t really take much credit for that lemon plant because our garden was directly under a water tank overflow line and the plants were mostly watered due to our watchman’s negligence! The lemon plant took its revenge – We stayed in that house for about 4-5 years after planting it, but got no lemons whatsoever! I later learned that lemon plants take 6-8 years to give fruits. Tough luck!
That lemon plant had thorns, leaves smell lemony when you cut them and lemon plants give white flowers? I have not even seen a single lemon flower from that plant! It seems lemon trees can grow up to 15-20 feet. Our lemon plant was not even 5 feet, when we left!
It seems lemons are initially green in colour (I have seen such lemons in shops) and then they become yellow when they ripe. But lemons that ripen in the tree are more nutritious, especially when consumed immediately after they are plucked. Also, if you want to store lemons (intact with its nutrition), you need to fill up water in an earthen pot, put lemons in it and close it. It is not advisable to eat raw lemon extract (without mixing it with water or honey) as it is bad for health.
Lemons are very rich source of Vitamin C and Potassium (among others). The thin white skin inside the yellow thicker skin is a good source of Vitamin B, it seems. Lemons help reduce body heat in summer, keep sports persons/people doing physical work active/fresh during hot months and are used in a lot of medicines.
Lemons can be consumed in any season. Lemon is the source for manufacturing citric acid, which is used to preserve soft drinks, pickles, jams, marmalades, etc for a long period.
I am familiar with lemons being consumed/used in the following ways:
- Lime juice, Lemonades (made using fresh lime)
- Vegetable salad dressing
- Sprinkled on onions and used as an appetizer
- Lemon rice
- Lime pickle
- Pav bhaji (bhaji is sprinkled with onions and lemon)
- Cleaning cookware
You can add some more – I am not sure how it is used while cooking. So, when you want to drink a carbonated soft-drink next time, consider having a fresh lemon juice/lemonade with sugar, salt or sugar+salt (my favorite), instead. It’s much more healthier!