Lemon is a citrus fruit that grows on small evergreen trees. They are typically bright yellow in color (inside and out) and with an oval or football shape. Every part of the lemon is edible, containing a sour and acidic flavor. Some of the top lemon producers in the world include India, Mexico, China, and Argentina. The two most common varieties of lemon found in the US include Eureka and Lisbon varieties.
All parts of the lemon are edible, so it's not necessary to peel them, but you may not like the extra zesty bitter taste that it adds to your smoothies.
We like to peel our lemons before blending them. We'll grab any easy to get to seeds out of it as well, but it doesn't hurt to blend the seeds.
Don't trash that peel!
Here are some great household uses for lemon (or really any) citrus peel:
- Make an exfoliating sugar scrub (combine sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice, and peels)
- Boil peels with fresh ginger and honey for a sinus soothing tea
- Zest the peels to add a zip of fresh flavor to pasta dishes, steamed/roasted veggies, salads, and more
- Deodorize your garbage disposal (throw a few chopped up peels in and turn it on to freshen things up)
History of the Lemon
The lemon is said to have originated in Asia, over 2,000 years ago, with cultivation of the fruit-bearing tree reaching Italy by 200 A.D., and The Middle East and Egypt by 700 A.D. Between 1000 and 1150 A.D. lemon trees were dispersed throughout the Mediterranean by Arabian settlers. Lemons were not largely grown as food at first, but rather as an ornamental plant. By the late 1400s, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus took lemon seeds to Hispaniola, and it is said that early spanish explorers included lemons amongst other citrus first planted in St. Augustine.
How to Choose a Lemon
When picking lemons, avoid those that contain soft or wet spots, and choose those that are heavier with smooth bright skin.
Lemon trees produce fruit all year round.