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The lemon, Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck, is a species of small tree in the family , native to , primarily .

The tree's yellow is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its , which has both culinary and cleaning uses. The pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% , with a pH of around 2.2, giving it a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in and foods such as and lemon meringue pie.

The origin of the lemon is unknown, though lemons are thought to have first grown in (a region in ), northern or . A genomic study of the lemon indicated it was a hybrid between (sour orange) and . Genetic origin of cultivated citrus determined: Researchers find evidence of origins of orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, other citrus species", Science Daily, January 26, 2011 (Retrieved February 10, 2017).

Lemons entered near southern no later than the second century AD, during the time of . However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to and then to and around 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th-century treatise on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early . It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 and 1150.

The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in in the middle of the 15th century. The lemon was later introduced to the in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to on his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as an ornamental plant and for medicine. In the 19th century, lemons were increasingly planted in and .

In 1747, James Lind's experiments on seamen suffering from involved adding lemon juice to their diets, though was not yet known as an important dietary ingredient.

The origin of the word lemon may be Middle Eastern. The word draws from the Old French limon, then Italian limone, from the Arabic laymūn or līmūn, and from the līmūn, a generic term for fruit, which is a cognate of Sanskrit ( nimbū, “lime”).

The 'Bonnie Brae' is oblong, smooth, thin-skinned and seedless. These are mostly grown in San Diego County, USA.
(2019). 9781428642447, Kessinger Publishing. .

The 'Eureka' grows year-round and abundantly. This is the common supermarket lemon, also known as 'Four Seasons' ( Quatre Saisons) because of its ability to produce fruit and flowers together throughout the year. This variety is also available as a plant to domestic customers. There is also a pink-fleshed Eureka lemon, with a green and yellow outer skin. Vaiegated pink at the Citrus Variety Collection.

The 'Femminello St. Teresa', or 'Sorrento' is native to Italy. This fruit's zest is high in lemon oils. It is the variety traditionally used in the making of .

The 'Yen Ben' is an Australasian cultivar.

Nutritional value and phytochemicals
Lemons are a rich source of , providing 64% of the in a 100 g serving (table). Other essential nutrients, however, have insignificant content (table).

Lemons contain numerous , including , , and . Lemon juice contains slightly more than lime juice (about 47 g/l), nearly twice the citric acid of juice, and about five times the amount of citric acid found in orange juice.

Culinary uses
Lemon juice, rind, and peel are used in a wide variety of foods and drinks. The whole lemon is used to make , and . Lemon slices and lemon rind are used as a garnish for food and drinks. Lemon zest, the grated outer rind of the fruit, is used to add flavor to baked goods, puddings, rice, and other dishes.

is used to make , , and . It is used in for fish, where its acid neutralizes in fish by converting them into nonvolatile salts. In meat, the acid partially tough collagen fibers, the meat, but the low pH denatures the proteins, causing them to dry out when cooked. In the , lemon juice is frequently added to , especially on .

Lemon juice is also used as a short-term on certain foods that tend to oxidize and turn brown after being sliced (enzymatic browning), such as , , and , where its acid denatures the enzymes.

In , lemons are preserved in jars or barrels of salt. The salt penetrates the peel and rind, softening them, and curing them so that they last almost indefinitely. The preserved lemon is used in a wide variety of dishes. Preserved lemons can also be found in Sicilian, Italian, Greek, and French dishes.

The leaves of the lemon tree are used to make a tea and for preparing cooked meats and seafoods.

Other uses

Lemons were the primary commercial source of before the development of fermentation-based processes.
(2019). 9783642114588, Springer. .

As a cleaning agent
The juice of the lemon may be used for cleaning. A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder is used to brighten copper cookware. The acid dissolves the tarnish, and the abrasives assist the cleaning. As a kitchen cleaning agent the juice can , remove grease, bleach stains, and disinfect; when mixed with baking soda, it removes stains from plastic food storage containers. The oil of the lemon's peel also has various uses. It is used as a wood cleaner and polish, where its solvent property is employed to dissolve old wax, fingerprints, and grime. Lemon oil and are also used as a nontoxic treatment.

Lemon oil may be used in . Lemon oil aroma does not influence the human , but may contribute to relaxation.

One educational science experiment involves attaching to a lemon and using it as a battery to produce electricity. Although very low power, several can power a small digital watch. These experiments also work with other fruits and vegetables.

Lemon juice may be used as a simple , developed by heat.

Lemons need a minimum temperature of around , so they are not hardy year-round in temperate climates, but become hardier as they mature. Citrus require minimal pruning by trimming overcrowded branches, with the tallest branch cut back to encourage bushy growth. Throughout summer, pinching back tips of the most vigorous growth assures more abundant canopy development. As mature plants may produce unwanted, fast-growing shoots called ‘water shoots,’ these are removed from the main branches at the bottom or middle of the plant.

In cultivation in the , the cultivars ‘Meyer’ and ‘Variegata’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).


In 2016, world production of lemons (combined with limes for reporting) was 17.3 million . The top producers were India, Mexico, China, Argentina and Brazil, collectively accounting for 62% of total production (table).

Lemon alternatives
Many plants taste or smell similar to lemons.
  • Limes, another common sour citrus fruit, used similarly to lemons
  • Certain cultivars of
  • (lemongrass)
  • , a mint-like herbaceous perennial in the family
  • Two varieties of scented geranium: Pelargonium crispum (lemon geranium) and Pelargonium x melissinum (lemon balm)
  • Certain cultivars of
  • Magnolia grandiflora tree flowers

Other citrus called 'lemons'
  • , a mandarin hybrid
  • , a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid distinct from sour or sweet orange, named after Frank N. Meyer, who first introduced it to the United States in 1908. Thin-skinned and slightly less acidic than the Lisbon and Eureka lemons, Meyer lemons require more care when shipping and are not widely grown on a commercial basis. Meyer lemons often mature to a yellow-orange color. They are slightly more frost-tolerant.
  • , more cold-sensitive than true lemons, the fruit are thick-skinned and very large. Genetic analysis showed it to be a complex hybrid of citron and pomelo.
  • , a citron-mandarin cross, cold-hardy and often used as a
  • or sweet limes, a mixed group including the lumia (pear lemon), , and Palestinian sweet lime. Among them is the Jaffa lemon, a pomelo-citron hybrid.
  • Volkamer lemon, like the rough lemon, a citron-mandarin cross

File:Flowers blossoms.jpg|Flower File:Lemon-citrus limon seedling.jpg|Lemon seedling File:P2101990,lemon.jpg|Mature lemons File:Citrus limon - Lemon tree - Limonero - Limoeiro.JPG|Full-sized tree File:Citrus x limon 'Variegated Pink' - Lemon.jpg| pink lemon

See also
  • List of lemon dishes and beverages

External links
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