Why I'm Loving Lemon... - Culinary Therapy

Why I’m Loving Lemon…

I love lemons! On chicken, on steamed veggies, in a simple salad, as a morning elixir, in desserts, in smoothies and more. I even like how they look in a bowl on the counter. And they have so many health benefits…

Lemon is a citrus fruit superfood native to southern China and Southeast Asia. It has been cultivated for over 2,500 years and was extremely popular in the late 1800s when it was used to help prevent scurvy.

Lemon has a characteristically astringent, sharp taste. While most varieties are sour, the exception is the Meyer lemon, which is known for it sweet taste. Lemons are available year-round, but seasonally peak in May, June and August.

Health Benefits:

Lemons are a superfood antioxidant. They reduce free radical damage that can result in cancer, heart disease and lung disease.

Lemons are highly immune-supportive. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and have antiseptic, anti-microbial and mucus-resolving characteristics. This is especially useful in healing colds, flus, viruses, coughs, and parasites. In my home, whenever we feel a cold or virus coming on the first line of defense is lemon water sipped throughout the day.

Lemons are a digestive powerhouse, helping to acidify the stomach which is healing for reflux, gas and indigestion.

Lemons support the liver, making them a key food in detoxification.

Although acidic, lemons are actually alkalizing for the body which is essential for strong bone health.

Selecting and Storing Lemons:

When choosing a lemon, color matters. A deep yellow lemon is less acidic than a lighter or greenish yellow lemon. Choose a deep yellow, firm lemon with a thin skin.  The thinner the skin, the juicier the lemon will be.

When refrigerated, lemons will keep for up to six days. In a bowl on the counter, they’ll typically last 3-5 days.

Preparing Lemons:

It is important to remember to wash the lemon prior to preparation. Organic is important, lemons are highly sprayed with pesticides. And, rolling the lemon on a flat surface before cutting it will release the juices.

There are many ways to use lemons in your kitchen. Here are some of my favorites:

    • As a morning tonic to aid digestion, add ½ lemon to 8-10oz water.
    • As a refreshing beverage, add slices of lemon to a pitcher of water. Or try my Healthy Summer Lemonade
    • As a light salad dressing; try my recipe for Arugula, Fennel & Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.
    • On fish.  Squeezing lemon on cooked fish prior to serving will cut the fish flavor.  This is especially appealing for children.
    • In smoothies; try romaine lettuce, kale, cucumber, ginger, lemon and apple.
    • Over steamed vegetables.  Try lemon and a dash of sea salt.

Your Simple Action Plan:

Upgrade what’s on your plate this week by adding fresh lemon to your weekly menu plan. What’s your favorite way to use lemon? Let me know in the comments below!

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