From the Old French "limon" from the Arabic "lima"
China and the foothills of the Himalayas. Originally lemons grew wild at the foot of the Himalayas. Lemons were later grown widely throughout Arab countries, and discovered by the Romans who introduced "Midas' apple" all the way to southern Spain. Christopher Columbus took lemon seeds with him to Haiti. From the Caribbean, the lemon traveled on to Florida and South America. During the medieval Crusades, French crusaders brought the lemon back with them from Palestine.
The lemon is a thorny bush, covered year-round with small, pale green, oval leaves. It bears hundreds of little white flowers, which grow into a heavy, fleshy ovoid fruit of a yellow or intense green colour. Its flesh is made up of 6 or 12 sections and contains few pips.
Rich in vitamins and for a long time the only known remedy for scurvy, the lemon is so tied to the navy that its use was regulated by an English ordinance on all warships and commercial vessels. British ships came to be known as limejuicers and their sailors "limeys." Did you know that lemons are picked before maturity in order to retain their acidity?
Lemon juice is a natural antioxidant. Thanks to its citric acid content, it prevents peeled fruits (such as bananas and pears) from darkening, as well as raw vegetables (avocados, mushrooms, artichokes, celery root, etc.) Adding a few drops of lemon juice also ensures success when beating egg whites. There's nothing like lemon juice in a marinade to tenderize meat and poultry. Lemon juice is also effective for cleaning silver jewelry and removing rust stains from laundry. Lemons are best stored in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator.
Round, mild and sunny yellow, lemon is the fruit symbol of hot countries. It is found in the gastronomy of every country of the Mediterranean, from Morocco, where its sour flavor is used in the delicate savory-sweet pairings of tagines; to India where it is paired with hot chilis to perk up chutneys; and on to Polynesia, where it keeps company with every kind of fish. In French cuisine, it is best known in its sweet variations: in pies, candied, sugared… In the region of Menton, a number of gourmet products are made with lemons: jams, jellies, syrups and citrus honey.
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