General Information: Throughout time, lemons have been used for a multitude of non-culinary purposes: as an epilepsy remedy, a toothpaste, and invisible ink and a bleaching agent. Culinary uses today are also vast. Lemons are used in savory dishes to wake-up bland flavors, sweet dishes to counter sugar and provide balance, and in drinks to bring refreshment. Lemons are cultivated worldwide in most temperate zones. The most important producers include the USA, Italy, Spain, and Argentina. At the market, there are several varieties to look for. Throughout the year, the ‘Verna’ variety from Spain and other countries are found at the market. This variety is the most widely grown throughout all of Europe. They are recognizable by their two elongated points, and their seedless interior. From June through September, the ‘Verdelli’ variety from Italy is the freshest. From October through February, look for the ‘Primofiori’ variety, which is especially juicy and less acidic. It looks similar to the Verna, but it has seeds. In supermarkets, the seedless ‘Eureka’ variety from either the USA or Australia is available the entire year.

Season: Unlike most fruits, lemons are available year-round, with a peak during late Spring and early summer…then again during the Fall months

Purchasing Tips: Choose those with smooth, brightly colored skin with no signs of green (which signals under ripeness). Lemons should be firm, plump and heavy for their size.

Storage: Depending on their condition when purchased, lemons can be stored under refrigeration for up to 3 weeks. For non-organic lemons, always drop into very hot water for a few seconds in order to remove the protective wax used during shipping.

Cooking Tips: Use lemons liberally in everything and often (of course, the Laughing Lemon would say this!)

Nutritional Info: Excellent source of vitamin C (lemons lose their vitamin C quickly after being squeezed – 20% is lost after only eight hours at room temperature and after twenty-four hours under refrigeration). Also present are high amounts of Vitamin B.

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