featured ingredient: lemon

The lemon (Citrus limon) is a small, yellow rounded fruit, pointed at its ends, with acidic juice. The origin of the lemon is unknown, though it may be native to northwest India. Arab traders in Asia carried lemons and other citrus fruits to eastern Africa and the Middle East between AD 100 and 700, reaching China by 1000. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to the New World in 1493.
But, what’s most important is that the juice, zest and leaves all have culinary uses.

When purchasing look for big, plump, firm lemons that are heavy for their size. When choosing Meyer lemons, look for bright, shiny fruits with richly colored orange yellow rind, indicating that the fruit was picked when fully ripe.

Try to avoid brownish lemons won’t be as juicy. Avoid lemons that are shriveled, hard-skinned, soft, or spongy. Avoid old Meyer lemons with hard dry skin or with soft spots.

And store lemons in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks (1 week for Meyer lemons).

Lemon (juice, zest and leaves)is incredibly versatile as an ingredient. Adds flavor or enhances and gives freshness to others. They are great with artichokes, capers, cumin, fennel, fish, garlic, marsca-pone, mint, poultry, raspberries, shellfish, thyme, and many more. I like to use lemon zest in my rice pudding. Even my apple cheddar empanadas have a little lemon juice.

Lemons are definitely an ingredient you’ll always find in my fridge.

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