is a small evergreen tree (Citrus
) originally native to Asia, and is also the name of the
tree's oval yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and
nonculinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its
, though the pulp and rind
are also used, mainly in cooking
is about 5% (approximately 0.3 mole per liter) citric acid
, which gives lemons a tart taste,
and a pH
of 2 to 3. This makes lemon juice an
inexpensive, readily available acid
for use in
educational science experiments. Because of the tart flavor, many
lemon-flavored drinks and candies are available, including lemonade
origin of the lemon has remained a mystery, though it is widely
presumed that lemons first grew in India, northern
Burma, and China.
South and South East Asia, it was known for its antiseptic
properties and it was used as an antidote for various poisons.
later introduced to Persia and then to
Iraq and Egypt around AD
The lemon was first recorded in literature in a tenth
treatise on farming, and was
also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It was
distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region
between AD 1000
and AD 1150.
Citrus x limon flowers.
Pickled lemons, a Moroccan
Lemons entered Europe (near southern Italy) no later than the first
century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not
widely cultivated. The first real lemon cultivation in Europe
began in Genoa in the
middle of the fifteenth century.
It was later introduced to
in 1493 when Christopher Columbus
seeds to Hispaniola along his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout
the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as
ornament and medicine. In 1700s and late 1800s, lemons were
increasingly planted in Florida and California when lemons began to be used in cooking and
In 1747, James Lind
experiments on seamen suffering from scurvy
involved adding Vitamin C
to their diets
through lemon juice. Case 3: Naval Medicine: The Fight Against
@ King's College at London. Information on this site is
based from: James Lind. A treatise on the scurvy. Second edition.
London: printed for A. Millar, 1757. [St. Thomas's Historical
: Its Origin is in 1350–1400; 1905–10.
According to www.dictionary.com: Although we know neither where
the lemon was first grown nor when it first came to Europe, we know
from its name that it came to us from the Middle East because we
can trace its etymological path. One of the earliest
occurrences of our word is found in a Middle English customs
document of 1420-1421. The Middle English word limon goes
back to Old French limon, showing that yet another delicacy passed
into England through France. The Old French word probably
came from Italian limone, another step on the route that leads back
to the Arabic word laymūn or līmūn, which comes from the Persian
- Meyer lemon - Is a
cross between a lemon and possibly an orange or a mandarin, was
named for Frank N. Meyer who first discovered it in 1908.
Thin-skinned and slightly less acidic than the Lisbon and Eureka
lemons, Meyer lemons require more care when shipping and are not
widely grown on a commercial basis.
- Lisbon - A good quality bitter lemon with high
juice and acid levels. The fruits of Eureka and Lisbon are very
similar. Vigorous and productive, trees are very thorny
particularly when young.
- Verna - A Spanish variety of unknown
- Bush Lemon Tree - Naturalized lemon grown wild
in subtropical Australia. They are very hardy, have a thick skin
with a true lemon flavour. Grows to about 4m in a sunny position.
The skin makes a good zest for cooking.
- West Indian or Mexican or Key
- Tahitian or Persian
Lemon marmalade on a slice of
Indian Vegetable Salad containing
Lemon, Tomato, Radish, Beetroot, Cucumber and Green Chillies
Lemons are used to make lemonade
, and as a
for drinks. Lemon zest
has many uses. Many mixed drinks
, iced tea
, and water are often
served with a wedge or slice of lemon in the glass or on the rim.
The average lemon contains approximately 3 tablespoons of juice.
Allowing lemons to come to room temperature before squeezing (or
heating briefly in a microwave
the juice easier to extract. Lemons left unrefrigerated for long
periods of time are susceptible to mold
Fish are marinated in lemon juice
neutralize the odor. The acid neutralizes the amines
in fish by converting them into nonvolatile
Lemon juice, alone or in combination with other ingredients, is
used to marinate meat before cooking: the acid provided by the
juice partially hydrolyzes
collagen fibers in the meat (tenderizing
the meat), though the juice does not have any antibiotic
Lemons, alone or with oranges
used to make marmalade
. The grated rind of
the lemon, called lemon zest, is used to add flavor to baked goods,
puddings, rice and other dishes. Pickled
are a Moroccan delicacy
. A liqueur called limoncello, typical of southern Italy, is made
from lemon rind.
When lemon juice is sprinkled on certain foods that tend to oxidize
and turn brown after being sliced, such as apples, bananas and
avocados, the acid acts as a short-term preservative by denaturing
the enzymes that cause browning and degradation.
Lemon in the process of ripening
- Citric acid - Lemons were the
primary commercial source of this substance prior to the
development of fermentation-based
- Lemon battery - A popular science
experiment in schools involves attaching electrodes to a lemon and using it as a battery to produce electricity.
Although very low power, several lemons used in this way can power
a small digital watch. These experiments also work with other
fruits and vegetables.
- Sanitary kitchen deodorizer -
deodorize, remove grease, bleach stain, and disinfect; when mixed
with baking soda, lemon can remove stains from plastic food storage
- Insecticide - The d-limonene
in lemon oil is used as a non-toxic insecticide treatment. See
- Antibacterial uses because it has a low pH
- Wood treatment - the traditional lemon oil used on the unsealed
rosewood fingerboards of guitars and other stringed instruments is
not made from lemons. It's a different product altogether, made
from mineral oil and a solvent, usually naphtha, and got its name
from its color and tart smell, and should not be confused with the
corrosive oil of lemons.
- A halved lemon is used as a finger moistener for those counting
large amounts of bills such as tellers and cashiers.
- Aromatherapy - In one of the most
comprehensive scientific investigations done yet, researchers at
Ohio State University reveal that lemon oil aroma does not
influence the human immune system but
may enhance mood.
- A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can be used to
brighten copper cookware. The acid cuts through the tarnish and the
abrasives assist the cleaning.
- Lemon juice may also be used lighten hair color.
Several other plants have a similar taste to lemons. In recent
times, the Australian bush
has become a popular
alternative to lemons. The crushed and dried leaves and edible
essential oils have a strong, sweet lemon taste but contain no
citric acid. Lemon myrtle is popular in foods that curdle with
lemon juice, such as cheesecake
are often used instead of lemons.
Many other plants are noted to have a lemon-like taste or scent.
Among them are Cymbopogon
grass), lemon balm
, lemon thyme
, scented geranium
cultivars of basil
, and certain cultivars of
India tops the production list with ~16% of the world's overall
lemon and lime output followed by Mexico(~14.5%), Argentina(~10%),
Brazil(~8%) and Spain(~7%).
|Top Ten Lemons and Limes Producers — 2007
|No symbol = official figure,
F = FAO estimate, A = Aggregate(may include official, semi-official
Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United
Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical
- Wright, A. Clifford. History of Lemonade, CliffordAWright.com
- The origins, limmi.it.
- Morton, J. 1987. Lemon. p. 160–168. Fruits of warm
climates. (Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.) @ Purdue University
California Energy Commission
- 6 ingredients for a green, clean home, Shine.
Retrieved on April 24, 2008.
- 9 Ohio State University Research, March 3, 2008
Study is published in the March 2008 issue of the journal
- Lemon Myrtle