Lemon has been a part of American and international cuisine since the earliest settlers arrived on the shores of America. Lemons are a tart citrus fruit. The word Lemon is derived from the Latin word “lemma”, which means sweet. Lemon trees are a part of the flowering vine family Rutaceae, indigenous to South Asia, mostly Northeast India
Lemons are more tart than other citrus fruits. Its tartness comes from its acidity. The juice is very thick – more so than other citrus fruits – and has a pleasant tangy taste. Lemon has two distinctive characteristic flavors: its natural flavor (tart) and the aftertaste. Aftertaste is an acid like flavor.
Lemons vary greatly in size and shape depending on the lemon variety. Large lemons have a thick rind while small lemons are small and lemon skin has a more leathery feel to it. Tangerine, grapefruit, tangerine, and Clementine are some of the larger varieties found in markets. Lemons can be frozen or dried; however fresh lemons require some process and may have to be acid washed. A great way to enjoy fresh lemons is through a squeeze of lemon juice.
Lemon is an important part of a citrus family. Lemon juice contains acidity which protects against bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infection. Lemon helps to alleviate and prevent: sore throats, coughs, flu, and food poisoning. Lemon juice has also been shown to relieve the effects of chemotherapy, although the mechanism involved is not well understood.
In addition to eating lemons, they are a natural source of topical antiseptic and antibacterial activity. Lemon has also been used to reduce allergic reactions, e.g., itching and sneezing, in children. The antimicrobial and insecticidal properties of lemon juice have been investigated for use as a cough and cold remedy. Lemon has been shown to improve bronchial mucus and may suppress cough responses to various types of bronchitis, rhinitis, and pneumonia. Lemon juice has been shown to have positive anti-viral activity, possibly due to the combination of alkaline and acid content of the vegetable.
Lemon essential oil is another important source of medicinal properties. The essential oil is usually used in aromatherapy due to its light, fresh scent, and a wide pH range. It can also be diluted and applied topically to relieve dryness and irritation and placed on the skin to relieve a sunburn. A very light layer of lemon essential oil is great for cleaning car windows without damaging the window.
Fresh lemons make an excellent natural mosquito repellent. Lemon essential oil has proven successful in killing certain mosquito species, especially the black-legged variety. In addition, lemons make an excellent natural treatment for mosquito bites – apply directly on the bites to relieve the itching, swelling and pain associated with them.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, lemonade is a delectable drink served during parties and gatherings. However, lemonade does not stay for the taste buds only. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice can be used as an antiseptic for stings, cuts, and scrapes. Lemon wedges and lemonade sandwiches are delightful spreads for sandwiches or eaten on their own. The tart flavor of lemons makes them ideal for desserts. Lemonade is a healthy alternative to traditional sugar.