Lemon Glossary ~ Lemon Varieties
Page 5: The Nutrition & Health Benefits Of Lemon
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Lemons are rich in vitamin C and also contain potassium and folic acid. They also add flavor without calories: One cup of lemon juice has 61 calories, and there are 48 teaspoons in a cup. Thus, each teaspoon has 1.3 calories, and a squeeze has almost nothing!
Our favorite easy way to benefit from lemon juice: We squeeze fresh lemon juice into our water bottle and enjoy lemon water all day long. THE NIBBLE kitchen enables us to squeeze fresh lemon juice all day; but if your workplace doesn’t afford that luxury and you drink lots of water, bring an extra bottle(s) filled only with 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice. The almost-empty bottles won’t weigh much, and you can fill them with tap water when you arrive.
LEMONS AND HEALTH BENEFITS
The vitamin C in lemon juice (and lime juice) is a powerful antioxidant. It travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, causing damage to the cell. Depending on the cell, the results can be inflammation or disease. Vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing the inflammation caused by arthritis.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, lemon juice has been long used as an antiscorbutic (to fight scurvy), an astringent, a diuretic (for water loss) and a febrifuge (to lower fevers).
- Lemon juice in hot water has long been taken as a daily laxative and preventative (hot lemon water is offered at the best spas).
- Lemon juice and honey is used by some as a cold remedy.
- Some people feel it prevents the common cold, although Vitamin C in pill form may be the better way to go, as daily doses of straight lemon juice can erode teeth enamel.
SHOPPING FOR LEMONS
All lemons are not created equal, even if they’re all in the same bin.
- Choose lemons that are bright yellow in color. This may seem obvious, but lemons with a green tinge tend to be more acid and contain less juice.
- Look for skins that shine. Dull-skinned lemons are no longer fresh.
- Pass by lemons with soft or hard patches or wrinkled skin. They are past maturity. However, if they pass maturity after you’ve bought them, test them: The juice may be fine. If the pulp has browned, toss it out.
- Lemons should be plump and firm and heavy for their size: Produce Pete emphasizes this with almost all fruits. Heavy, thin-skinned lemons contain the most juice.
- Storing Lemons: Eureka and Lisbon lemons, the prevailing supermarket varieties, can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two weeks or longer. Meyer lemons are more fragile and will keep for about one week. Storing citrus at room temperature shortens the life. If you have too many lemons, make lemonade—or freeze the juice and zest separately.
Most people don’t use enough lemon. Other countries offer lemon as a garnish with many recipes—a squeeze of fresh lemon juice perks up the dish.
- Serve lemon wedges with fresh fruit, poultry, salads (even those with another dressing), seafood and vegetables (they’re a must with artichokes).
- Serve a wedge of lemon with beverages: club soda and water, other juices, soft drinks and, of course, tea (without milk: the acid in lemons curdles the milk).
The Most Famous Lemon Kitchen Tip
The ascorbic acid in lemon juice prevents the discoloration of fruits and vegetables that oxidize quickly.
- Use lemon juice to delay the darkening (oxidation) of low-acid fruits such as apples, avocados, bananas and peaches.
- Simply brush the cut surfaces of with lemon juice!
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