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Lemon


Introduction of Lemon


            Scientific name - Citrus Limon


Bionomically known as Citrus Limon this fruit belongs to the Rutaceae family in the genus citrus which is also a home to the prominently and widely consumed fruits such as pomelo, tangerine, grapefruit, and oranges. This small round shaped fruit has a deceptive size as it houses many health benefiting nutrients that is even better than larger fruits belonging to this family.
Lemon trees are a small ever green trees that tend to spread fast. They grow up to 10- 12 feet tall in cultivated plantations. This tree flourishes extremely well in ideal temperate and tropical environment. Having said that if exposed to extremely cold and frosty climate they will tend to drupe and wither or it may harshly affect their growth. The stem of this tree often adorns sharp stout thorns protecting the flowers and the fruits. A fully grown lemon tree bears a refreshing white flowers with fragrance that heals the soul.


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History of Lemon



Today what we know as lemons are actually the resultant of a cross hybrid between the lime and the citron. This was first initiated in China or India and is ever since then cultivated in those regions from past 2500 years. These lemons were first introduced to the European regions by the Arabs who brought them to the land of Spain during the 11th Century. In parallel to that it was also introduced to the lands of northern Africa during the same period. The credit of introducing lemon to other countries across European region goes to the Crusaders who first found the fruit growing in Palestine. Lemon was one amongst the many other fruits and vegetables that were introduced to the Americans by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World in the year 1493. Lemon's presence in Florida dates back to the 16th Century.
Back in time fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C were treated as highly prized possession by the miners and developers community. Lemon was one such vitamin C rich fruit that was in great demand during the California Gold Rush in the 19th Century. They were in such high demand as people were aware of the fact that it helped in protecting the body against the development of scurvy. The prices were sky rocketing high as high as $1 per lemon which till date is still considered a huge sum to pay for a lemon. This was during the year 1849 in the US.
Today the major producers of lemon in no particular order are The United States, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece and Israel.


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Varieties of Lemon



Since lemon is an actual cross hybrid between lime and citron this one fruit has man varieties credited to its name.
The most popular ones are discussed below
The Bonnie Brae is a variety that looks long with a smooth thin skin and it also happens to be a seedless variant. This fruit is prominent in San Diego country. Another variant known as Eureka as the name goes is a very special variant as it grows round the year in all the seasons. Apart from being called as Eureka, this fruit is a common supermarket lemon popular with the name of Four Season, indicating that it is able to produce fruit and flowers throughout the year. This variety is made available to customers to grow it in their in house gardens. Another sub variant to the Eureka lemon is a lemon that has distinct outer skin with green and yellow stripes and pink flesh. A lemon native to the lands of Italy known as 'Femminello St. Teresa', or 'Sorrento' is a fruit whose zest is very high in lemon oils. This variety is mainly used in the preparation of limoncello traditionally. A cross between a lemon and an orange or a mandarin is known as Meyer. It gets its name because of Frank N. Meyer who introduced it first to the United States of America in the year 1908. This fruit appears to be a very thin skinned fruit that taste a little less acidic when compared to its other variants Lisbon and Eureka lemons. This unique lemon require a lot of care while shipping them and they are not that widely grown across the globe on a commercial basis. They display a yellow orange skin when they mature also are remarkably more frost tolerant than other lemons. The last two of the many variants are the Ponderosa and Yen ben. Speaking of ponderosa it is a thick skinned large fruit that is possibly a hybrid between citron and lemon. This fruit is comparatively more cold sensitive than the other lemons. The former variant is an Australian cultivar.


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Nutritional Value of Lemon


Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 29 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 9.32 g 7%
Protein 1.10 g 2%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.80 g 7%
Vitamins
Folates 11 µg 3%
Niacin 0.100 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid 0.190 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.080 mg 6%
Riboflavin 0.020 mg 1.5%
Thiamin 0.040 mg 3.5%
Vitamin C 53 mg 88%
Vitamin A 22 IU 1%
Vitamin E 0.15 mg 1%
Vitamin K 0 µg 0%
Electrolytes
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 138 mg 3%
Minerals
Calcium 26 mg 3%
Copper 37 µg 4%
Iron 0.60 mg 7.5%
Magnesium 8 mg 2%
Manganese 0.030 mg 1%
Zinc 0.06 mg 0.5%


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Uses of Lemon


The use of lemon can practically be divided in three broad categories. Them being a. dietary and consumption use b. Health benefits of consuming lemon c. beauty benefits. All these three uses of lemon will be discussed individually
Dietary use and consumption of lemon
The saying goes when life gives you lemons make lemonades. Well in our case lemon is something that is a must have even when given a chance or not. One can consume lemon in many forms such as freshly squeezed lemon juice, the rind of the lemon and not to forget the zest of the lemon that is king of all flavors. Lemon juice freshly squeezed or bottled is used to make lemonades, mocktails, cocktails, also an addition to many soft drinks.
Lemon juice is preserved to make many natural flavor. Lemon juice is also added to pan cakes which seems like a popular favorite in The United Kingdom. Adding lemon juice to certain foods tends to cut the oxygen supply of the fruit and slows down the oxidation process. Fruits such as apples, bananas and avocados are known to be preserved with lemon juice. Marmalades and lemon liqueur is a product of lemon rind and lemon juice where the zesty flavors wins the heart. Indian are synonymous to the pickles they eat, the lemon and lime pickle is the way to every Indian's heart.
Baked goodies like puddings, cheese cakes and even rice are flavored with lime juice or zest. Lemon slices often adorn the top of a cocktail glass as it is used as a garnish for food and drinks.
Lemon leaves are key ingredient in Thai food, known as the kafir lime leaves any Thai dish prepared using them is simply scrumptious. Sea food lovers would find any sea food incomplete without a dash of lime.



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Health benefits of Lemon


There are many benefits of consuming lemon. A few of them are discussed below. The benefit of consuming lemon early morning with a glass of lukewarm water is a remedial measure to weight loss and also detoxification. Consumption of lemon can treat various ailments such as throat infections, constipation, obesity, dental problems, high blood pressure, skin problems etc. these treatments are not any new discoveries but have been popular since generations. Lemon also aids in strengthening the immune system as it cleanses the stomach and keeps impurities at bay.
Consumption of lemon juice is very advantageous for treatment of kidney stones, apart from that it also reduces the chances of getting strokes as it cools down the body temperature.
Beauty benefits of lemon
Lemon is considered to be natural bleach and is a key promoter skin lightening agents. Sun tans and black heads can be very easily treated by applying lemon juice on cleansed face. Applying lemon juice on scalp also helps in keeping dandruff at bay.
They say good things comes in small packages, well this saying befits this situation rightly.


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Propagation of Lemon


The method of propagating a lemon is usually a process involving more than two steps. Initially when one must ensure that the seed is best propagated when stored in a greenhouse environment. The seed must be sown during the month of March as the germination process hits a start between 2-3 weeks at a temperature of 13c. The seedlings should be taken extra care of as they tend to wear off if not kept well hydrated and ventilated. One interesting fact about lemon seeds are that they are polyembronic in nature, this translates to them possessing more than one seed in them. These seeds are a result of two genetically identical parents and it also does not carry any viruses present in the parent plant. Once the seeds are a little big enough to be pricked out one must plant them in individual pots and ensure that they are kept inside the greenhouse for three growing seasons in order to safe guard them against cold winters on the outdoors.


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