The lemon (Citrus × limon) is a small evergreen tree native to Asia. The tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie.
Lemon juice, rind, and zest are used in a wide variety of foods and drinks. Lemon juice is used to make lemonade, soft drinks, and cocktails. It is used in marinades for fish, where its acid neutralises amines in fish by converting them into nonvolatile ammonium salts, and meat, where the acid partially hydrolyses tough collagen fibres, tenderising the meat, but the low pH denatures the proteins, causing them to dry out when cooked.
Lemon juice is frequently used in the United Kingdom to add to pancakes, especially on Shrove Tuesday. Lemon juice is also used as a short-term preservative on certain foods that tend to oxidise and turn brown after being sliced (enzymatic browning), such as apples, bananas, and avocados, where its acid denatures the enzymes. Lemon juice and rind are used to make marmalade and lemon liqueur. 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 flavour to baked goods, puddings, rice, and other dishes. The leaves of the lemon tree are used to make a tea and for preparing cooked meats and seafoods.
Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, providing 64% of the Daily Value in a 100 g serving. Numerous essential nutrients are also present in small amounts. Lemons contain numerous phytochemicals, including polyphenols, terpenes, and tannins. As with other citrus fruits, they have significant concentrations of citric acid (about 47 g/l in the juices).
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.