Lemon (Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck) is a medium sized tree (3-6 m) of fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family. The term lemon can be used for both plant and fruit.
From a systematic point of view lemon belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Tracheobiont Substitution, Spermatophyta Superdivision, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Rosidae Subclass, Sapindales Order, Rutaceae Family, Subfamily Aurantioideae, Citra Tribe and then Genus Citrus and Species C Lemon. According to some genetic studies, lemon is an ancient hybrid, probably between pomelo and cedar, but for centuries is an autonomous species, which is reproduced by grafting and cuttings.
According to some research, the origin of the word “lemon” should originate in the Middle East. One of its first occurrences appears in a British customs document dating back to 1420-1421. The “lemon” noun originates from the ancient French “lemon”, which also gave rise to the Arabic name “laymun” and to the persian “lemon” which generically refers to all citrus fruits (term related to sanskrit “nimbu”).
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Although the origins of lemon are uncertain, it is thought that the first places to grow were China, where it was cultivated before the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the Indian region of Assam and northern Burma. In our Pese lemon is grown mainly in the south, especially in Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Lemon is, however, cultivated all over the world in the subtropical strip, where the climate is sufficiently hot and humid. Its natural habitat is fresh medium-sized soil with good water availability and in areas not overly ventilated. The area where it grows develops in the altitude range between 0 and 800 meters s.l.m ..
Known was the area of the Golden Conch of Palermo for the ancient cultivation of lemons (and other citrus fruits) in the area around the Sicilian capital. Now the urban expansion and commercial abandonment of this cultivation has reduced the presence of this citrus to an ever-decreasing number of these plants.
Lemon is a tree that has an average size of 3 to 6 meters in height. Sprouts and petals are white and violet. The fruit is yellow on the outside and almost colorless inside, spherical to oval, often with a protrusion on the apex and pointed at the other end. The peel can be very rough to smooth, more or less lined inside with a spongy white mass called albedo. Lemons are usually grown for fruit production but the plant can be grown in pots for ornamental purposes. In a favorable climate, lemon can flourish and fruit up to five times a year. The flowering lasts at least two months and the ripe fruit can wait another two months on the tree before being caught, which favors a systematic harvest. The spring bloom produces the best fruits, whose harvest lasts all winter, from November to April or May. The second flowering, sometimes forced into commercial plantations, takes place in August and September, fruits can be harvested from May onwards, just after winter. Other blooms occur in favorable conditions of climate and water availability. Under favorable conditions, an adult tree can yield from 600 to 800 fruits per year.
Lemons are grown all over the world in countless varieties that probably do not even botanists manage to record. The differences between them are in fact found mainly in the exterior appearance, while their food quality and the relative economic importance remain practically unchanged. So are the varieties of red lemon and sweet lemon that always produce agrarian fruits, but at the same time sweet enough to be eaten as fresh fruit. When these lemons mature they deteriorate within two to three days, and are logically consumed by the local population and remain unknown on a larger market.
There is often a distinction between yellow and green lemons, but it is a purely commercial distinction, as the two species grow on the same tree. Green lemon (green) is the product of summer bloom, which is often artificially induced with the absolute irrigation of the plant during the months of June and July. In this way fruits are obtained from the thin green peel and the very juicy pulp. They can be stored for a long time and bear good transport and temperature fluctuations, so they are exported all over the world, while winter lemons cover the needs of internal markets. This kind of tree forcing shortens life, but this is a very economically advantageous practice, which is generally applied to all plantations.
Lemon is cultivated all over the world in the subtropical strip, where the climate is sufficiently hot and humid and is an important export product for many countries outside the European Union during the “off season” period. The largest producer is India (16% of world lemon and lime production) followed by Mexico (~ 14.5%), Argentina (~ 10%), Brazil (~ 8%) and Spain (~ 7% ). Other countries are Chile, Uruguay, Cyprus and the United States where lemons are cultivated predominantly in Florida and California. However, since the mid-1980s, the economic importance of lemon cultivation is undergoing a sharp decline, although in recent times, given the market price, interest has been growing again. In Italy lemon is cultivated for productive purposes mainly in the South, particularly in Sicily, Calabria and Campania
Fruits, produced after blooms, can remain on the tree even a couple of months after full maturation without losing any of their qualities; For this reason it is possible to coexist mature fruits, green fruits, fruit trees and flowers on the same plant. In fact, for family consumption, the fruits are harvested when they serve, without detaching them from the plant at an early age.
In fact, one of the benefits of citrus lemon is that these fruits can safely mature even after they have been detached from the tree, so they are commercially picked from the plant when they reach the sizes suitable for sale.
In Italy, lemons have been cultivated for centuries, because the Mediterranean climate is particularly suitable for citrus production; The areas where it is most easily cultivated are found in the south, where more or less precocious or late frosts or cold winds can affect the crop. In fact, these plants can survive without problems in much of the peninsula, except in the northernmost areas, where the winter climate is excessively rigid. In fact, lemons can withstand frost, but only if they are light and short-lived: well-understood frost can lead to complete loss of foliage, and sometimes also to the de-icing of the outer branches. Plants severely affected by frost hardly succumb to it, but they tend to take a couple of years to recover and begin to flourish and produce fruit.
For this reason, the cultivation of lemon citrus must be carried out in a sunny, windy area. Lemon citrus is definitely the most cultivated citrus in the world.
Lemon, while bearing the drought, does not particularly love her; Avoid leaving the soil around dry roots for prolonged periods of time, watering regularly during summer, and occasionally in autumn and winter if necessary.
The soils where the cultivation of lemon takes place with better results are those well drained, deep, medium dough. Typical are the cultivations in Sicily on the red (or at least light) soils in the areas of Palermo, Trapani and Siracusa.
For fertilization, remember to never exceed the nitrogen content, which increases the vegetative capacity and subsequently produces the plant causing significant phytopathic attacks such as coccinoles, aleirodids and other insects or mites.
The best thing is that of leguminous soup and / or in any case of the addition of organic fertilizers (especially the bovine manure) which give the lemon the substrate where the best soil and agronomic characteristics are.
For the working of the soil, it is highly recommended not to use deep working means which, by damaging the surface of the roots, can cause the famous malsecco phenomena (due to the Deuterophoma tracheiphila fungus).
On the pruning of this plant there are discordant opinions, however it must be pruned according to its vegetative development to avoid excessive vegetation (which causes excessive internal shading and parasitic attacks) and to eliminate the parts of the vegetative plant that tend to make it grow towards up.
Uses and Traditions –
The use of lemons in Europe dates back to the days of the Romans, when the caravans of Asian merchants had strong contacts with European merchants; These fruits are used in the kitchen, generally they do not eat fresh, but use sour juice for sweet and salty preparations or as a water additive as a drink during meals or even away from them.
In Italian cooking lemon is a key ingredient, especially with fish, but also with vegetables and meats.
Commercially preferred are the very harsh lemons, of which only the concentrated juice is sold; In Italy, however, varieties of sweet fruit are also grown, which can be eaten raw, or even used to produce jams made from marmalades.
Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, especially in fresh fruit preparations.
On average, the lemon peel can reach 40% of the total weight, another 3% is represented by the seeds. Although it is an average, the figure shows that the fruit is not only cultivated for juice. Peels, well appreciated for the production of candies, also extract essences and pectin. The seeds are extracted from the seeds and the residues are used in animal feed.
Lemon peel produces a liqueur, Limoncello, born in Campania and spread all over the world.
The most commonly used fruit part is juice representing up to 50% of its weight, it contains 50-80 grams / liter of citric acid, which gives the typical sour taste and several other organic acids including malic acid, l Ascorbic acid or vitamin C (0.5 g / l). The pasteurized juice keeps it without preservatives for at least a year and is used as an ingredient of various foods and beverages. Concentrated juice is then subjected to further processing and consumed in the canning industry. Lemon juice produces lemonade, a drink made from lemon juice, water (with or without sugar).
Essential lemon oil is an ethereal and volatile liquid with a color that goes from yellow to green, when extracted by mechanical pressure it maintains the smell of the rind, it is almost completely soluble in 96% ethyl alcohol and consists predominantly of Limonene and pineni (beta-pinene, alpha pinene, terpinene gamma). It takes about three thousand lemons to get at least 1 kg of essence, and usually the green fruits give it more quantity. The essential oil is industrially deterpenated both by vacuum distillation and by the use of solvents (supercritical CO2). It is mainly used in the food industry for its flavor and perfume power. In the manufacture of detergents, its byproducts (terpenes, juice distillates and “ferments”) are often used.
Even in pharmacology lemon is highly appreciated and its parts are juice and pericarp (peel). Its use as a drug was consolidated when you still did not know anything about vitamins. First of all, juice was appreciated such as anti-haemorrhagic, disinfectant, diminished consistency of stool (diarrhea) and hypoglycemic (tends to decrease blood glucose). In aromatherapy it is indicated as refreshing, circulatory tonic, bactericidal, antiseptic, useful for lowering blood pressure, useful in eliminating warts, calluses, inflammatory gums, curing arthritis and rheumatism, varicose veins, colds, and influenza. It was considered indispensable in scurvy care, well known among the sailors who did not care to supply lemons before any demanding trip.
In Sicily, where the problem of drinking water existed, it was in the habit of using water in various lemons cut in half. People knew by experience that lemons disinfect water and modern research has given reason to this ancient wisdom.
Lemon is the fruit that has the greatest therapeutic use, and the relationship between lemon and health has a millennial history: from the uses of ancient Greeks to the present day, examples of lemon application in medicine are hundreds, a long list Including some of the most important pages in the history of medicine, such as the discovery of James Lind’s scurvy in 1747, a pathology due to vitamin C deficiency and cured with lemon and oranges juice. The high concentration of vitamin C contained in lemon makes this fruit of great importance for health protection. Finally, the high vitamin C content in lemon is useful in combating influenza symptoms.
As for the composition, we see values expressed in grams or milligrams per 100 grams of food: 28 calories, water: 90%, protein: 0.8 g, fat: 0.5 g, carbohydrates: 8.2 g, Fibers: 0.6 g, ashes: 5.4 g, calcium: 33 mg, phosphorus: 15 mg, iron: 0.5 mg, sodium: 3 mg, potassium: 137 mg, also contains zinc and magnesium. With regard to vitamins – A: 12 mg; Thiamin (B1): 0.5 mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.02 mg; Niacin: 0.1 mg; B6: 0mg; C: 52 mg.
An interesting use is that of diluted water and lemon, as a drink and with different effects.
Drinking fast, it goes down the gastrointestinal tract, cleansing it from digestion residues, mucus and toxins that form during normal activity. It cleans liver and gall bladder, eliminating bile stasis; Activates the kidneys. It helps maintain the PH of the alkaline body and therefore keeps ourselves in a healthy state avoiding the onset of pathologies such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, gout, osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and tumors. You can increase the alkalizing effect of lemon by adding to the drink a pinch of salt. It regulates the intestine in case of constipation, as it softens the stools and stimulates evacuation. But it is also useful in case of diarrhea: Lemon has a disinfectant and bactericidal action. It stimulates metabolism and gives energy, so it can also be used by a dieter. Other benefits are discovered day by day: digestion improves and heavy breath becomes only a reminder, the skin gains beauty and brightness, and the body becomes lighter. This drink with water and lemon can be taken after a very heavy meal to fight stomach heaviness and promote gastric emptying. Addition of a pinch of bicarbonate helps to counteract the acidity of the stomach and intestinal gases.
There are little chances to follow when taking this drink.
The daily intake of water and lemon can damage the nail polish. For this reason, it is advisable to drink with a straw, and rinse your mouth with a little fresh water. Lemon can extract any toxic substances inside the cup (in the colors used to draw it). For this reason it is best to choose simple, but nice cups.
According to some scholars, the ancient Romans already knew lemons. This hypothesis is supported by the depictions of such fruit in some Carthage mosaics and frescoes in Pompeii, but according to other scholars it is possible that the authors of these works would simply import such citrus fruits or would have seen them in their home countries. There is no paleobotanical or literary evidence in support of this hypothesis.
Now let’s see some history.
Around 700 d.C. Lemon spread in Persia, Iraq and Egypt. From the Persian term لیمو, which states līmū and generically citrus citations, comes the term “lemon”.
The first literary descriptions of lemon are in Arabic writings of the X and XII century, by Qustus al-Rumi and Ibn Jami ‘. The lemon trees were originally used by the Arabs as ornamental plants.
In Europe, the first cultivation of lemons was started in Sicily after the X century and later in Genoa (mid-fifteenth century). The lemons appear in the Azores in the same period in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, who led them to the island of Hispaniola.
Lemon was thus introduced to America. The Spanish conquest of the entire American continent has therefore contributed to spreading lemon seeds across the globe.
In the “New World” lemon was mainly used as an ornamental and medicinal plant.
In the nineteenth century lemon began to be intensively cultivated in Florida and California.
The origin of lemon is still unclear, although it is likely that the first trees were cultivated in Assam (a region in northeast India), in northern Burma and in China. A genetic study on the origin of lemon concluded that it could be a hybrid between bitter orange and cedar.
Lemons were already known to Jews in Jerusalem who, according to Giuseppe Flavio (Roman historian), used them to strike a wandering priest during the 90’s festival; The Jewish tradition claims instead that the fruits used were cedars “Balady”.
Methods of Preparation –
A healthy habit is to start the day with a nice glass of lukewarm water with lemon juice for the healthful features first observed.
The fruit, raw or cooked, has a very acidic taste. It is mainly used as a drink and as a flavorant, but also in salad dressings, where it acts as an antioxidant and gives it an acre flavor. Juice is also used in the preparation of jams. Its dimensions can be up to 15 cm in length and 7 inches in width. The fruit peel is often used as a flavoring for cakes. The dried leaves are sometimes mixed with tea leaves to flavor it naturally. The essential oil derived from the peel is used as a food aroma. The flowers are worn in ice cream, pancakes, jams, and so on.
The essential oil obtained by drying the seed is used in soaps. The essential oil obtained from the peel is used as a food aroma but also in perfumes and medicines. The essential oil obtained from flowers is of superior quality and high cost. The essential oil obtained from young leaves and sprigs is called ‘petitgrain oil’. Dry skin can be used as a repellent against insects, if put in the clothes closet, and also in pot-pourri bags. Fruit juice is used for bronze polishing and other time-stamped metals, or to remove ink stains and as a whitening agent.
Let’s see some recipes with the use of lemon.
– Original Cheesecake
The original cheesecake, also known as the New York cheesecake, is a sweet typical of American tradition especially New York and is composed, like all cheesecakes, from a base of digestive biscuits covered with cheese cream and sour cream.
– Pancakes with raspberry sauce
The pancakes with raspberry sauce are a delicious and delicious recipe to serve for breakfast but also for a different snack. I love making winter pancakes, they are the best way to start the day and at home there is a delicious scent for at least a couple of hours.
– Cold paste
With the arrival of the beautiful season you can not miss the preparation of an abundant portion of cold pasta, to be brought to work for lunch, to offer to sudden guests. Try it by combining a dry and light wine like Vernaccia.
– Lemon cake
Lemon cake is a pastry classic and you can find lots of recipes to make it; We suggest you one that guarantees you to get a very soft, absolutely no dry cake, richly flavored with lemons and covered with a delicious icing and of course it is
Limoncello is a sweet liqueur among the best known in the world and is born in Campania, more precisely in the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento, where you can find the fabulous lemons of Sorrento and the Amphibians.
– Pancakes with apples, pistachios and raisins
These apple pancakes, pistachios and raisins are delicious apple-fried sweets with a paste that is enriched with pistachios and peppermintes, to make a sweet and sweet specialty we are often prepared to prepare at home, especially if we They are bambi
– Lemon cream
Lemon cream is the most classic of creams and is really very versatile. From the fresh and intense scent, this is one of the most popular varieties of pastry cream. The lemon cream recipe for cakes, tarts and buns is really easy and easy.
– Lemon jam
The lemon jam recipe is a preparation of a fresh and summer sweet jam, sweet and bitter at the same time, preserves the taste of lemon and looks like a great variation for a healthy and regenerating breakfast.
– Sea bass
Sea bass is a refined fish recipe, which in addition to being very good is really light. Let’s just say it, it is free of added fat and absolutely beneficial to our health, low calorie, perfect so to make the diet tasteful.
– Lemon cookies
Lemon biscuits are delicious and able to remember summer perfumes and tastes even in the winter.
– Risotto With Lemon
Here is the recipe for a good first dish: lemon risotto. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, useful in preventing seasonal illnesses, so in addition to good this first dish is definitely healthy.
– Sugarless cookies for diabetics
We propose the recipe for the simple but tasty dietary low-sugar dietary biscuits especially for those who have diabetes problems and need to keep control of the blood sugar. They are soft biscuits with taste and lemon scent.
– Spaghetti to the bottarga with lemon scent
Finally, we prepare a first fast and refined dish: the spaghetti to the bottarga with lemon scent. The ingredients are really few, or spaghetti, bottarga, lemon and oil.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.