The lemon is a fruit that belongs to the rutaceae family (genus citrus) other members of this family of fruits are grapefruit, citrons, tangerine, oranges, bergamots and limes.
The lemon tree and fruit are a hybrid native to Indo China and India, usually found in warm regions. References to lemons can be found in Roman records including paintings and were known by the Romans as the Persian apple. Lemons first appeared in Europe around 1200BC and were grown in Italy and Sicily, they found their way to Portugal and thrived in the Mediterranean climate; lemons do well in the sub-tropical regions of the world. In New Zealand most commercial production is in Northland, Gisborne and to a lesser extent the Hawkes Bay area.
Lemons are a rich source of potassium and contain more potassium than grapes or apples; we all know that potassium supports heart health. Lemons are also a rich source of vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B group vitamins, fibre, calcium, trace elements and minerals including copper, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus.
For those of us who have studied maritime history British sailors were known as Limeys, James Lind (naval surgeon) discovered the health benefits in 1750 of lemons, limes and oranges. The British navy had been plagued with scurvy; this discovery resolved these health issues and lemons became essential stores for all naval vessels and a ration of two ounces of lemon juice with water became part of crew routine. Lemons were later replaced with limes, hence the name Limey.
Lemons are as good for us today as in the 1700’s; they support our immune response, great in a hot toddy with Manuka honey to ease those throat infections over the winter flu season.
Lemons also stimulate liver activity helping dissolve uric acid and other toxins. They support bile health when taken at breakfast with water and may produce a detoxifying affect, supporting bowel health and regular bowel movement the peristalsis process.
Uses for lemons include; dressings, savouries, fish, cakes, desserts and let’s not forget the Mexican specialities tequila, salt and lemon and last but not least Corona beer with a segment of lemon; after the corona and tequila chaser you may feel the urge to clean the microwave; place 2 cups water, juice of a lemon and some dish washing liquid in a bowl and heat to boiling, leave to stand for a few minutes, remove from microwave then wipe clean, leaves a lovely fragrant and clean microwave oven.
We are not suggesting you drive after the tequila and corona but lemon juice is great when smeared on car wind shields to remove road film.
Minted Potato Salad
750g baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 cup finely chopped mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Cook potatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well, then cool. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
125 grams butter
1 cup castor sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
extra 1⁄4 of a cup castor sugar
1 1⁄2 cups of self raising flour
1⁄2 cup milk
Grate rind and juice of 1 lemon
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add sifted flour and salt alternatively with milk, then add grated rind. Bake in a moderate oven for 40-45 minutes. Mix lemon juice with extra sugar and when loaf is cooked remove from oven and pour the lemon juice and sugar mixture over the top and leave to cool in tin.