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June: National Lemon Month

History of Lemons in the US


Animation Source: Giphy

Did you know there are over 200 types of different lemons. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to the new world in 1492. Spanish explorers planted lemon trees in Florida and California. In the 1890s when Florida underwent a cold snap lemon production was halted.


California became the leading supplier of lemons because Florida's crop of lemons was damaged due to extreme cold. The freeze set back Florida over 10 years in production. California had 62,000 lemon trees

during this time and replaced Florida

as the top producer.


When traveling on ships pirates and sailors contracted scurvy due to a Vitamin C deficiency. Ship captains began to carry lemons and oranges that provided Vitamin C and fiber too. This kept the shipmates from contracting this disease.


Lemons can be eaten raw, made into beverages, and used in cooking soups, salads, stews, poultry, and meat dishes. They are processed into juice and concentrate, and packed and sold in supermarkets.


There are many types of lemons but the most common you will find in your local supermarket are Lisbon, Meyer, and Eureka. When seeking to order special lemons online try Esty, Amazon, and check in your state for growers or suppliers.


Common Types of Lemons In the Supermarket


Photos Source: Meyer Lemon Wikipedia

Meyer Lemons


These lemons are named after Frank. N. Meyer. He brought the plant to the United States in the 20th century. He found the plant in China used as an ornamental houseplant. These lemons were used by Alice Waters a chef at the Chez Panisse restaurant and by Matha Stewart in several recipes in the 2000s.


This lemons is a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange. They are considered a specialty item. They charge a higher price for these lemons. You can find them in specialty supermarkets and health food stores. They have a thinner peel and keep best in the crisper in the refrigerator.


Lisbon Lemons


These are tart lemons with a acidic taste. Their skin is medium thick and used as a source for making lemon oil. This lemon usually has few or no seeds. It produces a large amount of juice. It grow in cooler climates and produces lemons twice a year.


This lemons are sold in most supermarket around the world. The peak season is winter through spring. They grow in evergreen trees inside the canopy and the fruit is shielded from wind and severe weather by the trees foliage.



Eureka Lemons



The Eureka lemon was developed from the Lunario lemon shipped from Italy. It was first grown from a seedling in California. A farmer Thomas Carvey breed the plant and it was produced in 1877. It is one of the most popular lemons in the world.



Photo Source Eureka Lemon Trees: Flicker Brewbooks


It has a low seed count and is round with greenish yellow skin. You will find the lemons in most supermarkets and farm markets. It is called the four-season lemon.


Growing Your Own Lemon Tree


If you are an avid gardener, you may be interested in growing your own lemon tree outdoors in indoors in a pot. Many online vendors sell them on Esty and Amazon to grow. They will ship them from many different parts of the country. If you like lemons growing your own can be rewarding.


Recipes Using Lemons


You will need a cutting board, knife, measuring spoon, measuring cup, grater, plate, and large metal skillet to cook the chicken in.



Photo Source: Foodista

Boneless Lemon Chicken Thighs


1 pound or more package of boneless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 lemon grated for zest

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup of chicken broth

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 lemon sliced thin


Directions:


Put 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Put the defrosted chicken breasts in the pan. Add minced garlic and zest one lemon using a grater onto a plate. Sprinkle the zest onto the chicken evenly. Cut lemon in half and remove seeds and squeeze juice over the chicken.


Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to pan. Sprinkle black pepper evenly over chicken. Cut 1/2 lemon into thin slices place over chicken for a decorative touch when cooking


Heat oven on roast to 350 degrees. Cook chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add more broth if needed and it appears dry. Serve hot with rice or pasta on the side.



Animation Source: Giphy From the TV Show Seinfeld


Lentil Lemon Spinach Soup


You will need a medium sized saucepan, measuring spoons, measuring cup, cutting board, knife, spoon to stir and colander.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium white onion minced

2 carrots diced fine

1/2 cup of spinach washed and chopped

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup red lentils

juice of half a lemon


Directions:


First wash the carrots, white onion, and spinach with warm water for a few minutes in a colander. In a medium saucepan over medium heat put the olive oil into the saucepan. Cut the ends off the onion and remove the peel. Discard it. Chop it into small pieces and put in pan. Cut the carrots thinly and add to pan. Chop the spinach and add to pan. Mix well with spoon.


Measure and add the minced garlic and tomato sauce. Let the vegetables cook about five minutes until wilted. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of red lentils and let cook for about 20 minutes. Add more chicken broth if the soup thickens too much. Add black pepper and juice of half a lemon stir and serve. Serves about 4.


Final Thoughts: When someone hands you lemons use them for cooking.


Animation Source: Giphy and Brie Parker

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