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In season early winter: Lemons

Buying

Lemons are picked ripe. Choose firm, bright yellow fruit which, when you gently roll your finger over their skin, gives a fresh citrus aroma. Thin-skinned lemons tend to have more juice and fruit with a greenish tinge are likely to be more acidic.

Storing

At room temperature, lemons will last for about one week. Placed in the refrigerator, lemons will keep for up to two weeks. Freeze lemon juice in ice-cube trays. The ice cubes will keep their flavour for up to three months.

Nutrition

Containing over 170 different phytochemicals, there’s more to lemons and other citrus fruit than vitamin C and their other vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown citrus fruit have a protective effect against some cancers, and higher consumption of citrus fruits has also been associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Using

To get the most juice out of a lemon, warm the fruit in the microwave for 15 seconds or roll the room-temperature lemon on the counter. One medium lemon has about three tablespoons of juice and three tablespoons of grated zest.

4 ways with lemons

  1. Make a lemon-scented risotto to serve with fish by adding lemon zest and juice to a basic risotto recipe.
  2. Add lemon zest to your fruit muffins for a burst of fresh flavour.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan at the last minute when pan-frying fish or chicken to make a lemony glaze.
  4. Liven up a chicken noodle soup with a dash of lemon juice at the end of cooking. Especially nice with a dash of chilli, too!

Recipe ideas

Roasted lemon chicken
Fijian fish
Moroccan carrot salad

Did you know? During the European Renaissance, fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips.

First published: Jun 2011



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