Sunny Lemons Brighten Winter Days in Many Ways

comments (6) February 28th, 2011

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cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
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Lemons brighten many foods and are a good source of vitamin C. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
A box of gold--Meyer lemons from California.
Meyer lemons have a hint of orange in both aroma and flavor.
The zest of lemons contains citrus oil and adds flavor to sauces, vegetables, fruits and beverages.  
Hot lemon water is a healthy way to start the day.
Lemon trees grow outdoors year-round in warm and tropical climates. 
Ponderosa lemons are known for their huge size.
In cold climates, we have to grow our lemons in large containers and move them indoors when the weather gets cold.
Lemons brighten many foods and are a good source of vitamin C. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.Click To Enlarge

Lemons brighten many foods and are a good source of vitamin C. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.

Photo: Susan Belsinger

Last week, I received a box of gold. Golden yellow lemons. Every year, about this time when I have cabin fever from being indoors for more than a few months due to cold weather, my dear friend, Carolyn Dille sends me a box of Meyer lemons from a tree in her backyard in Santa Cruz, California. I salivate when the postman hands me the package. The opening of the box is like releasing sunshine into the room.  

For those of you who reside in warmer climes, perhaps you don’t realize how fortunate you are to be able to grow citrus trees in your garden year round. We who live where there is winter weather with freezing temps and snow must grow our citrus in containers and move them indoors. The trees require large pots with enriched soil, good drainage, and a sunny location. Some of us who pay attention to our potted plants—prune them and feed them—are able to reap the benefits and harvest fruit. Not only do these mouthwatering fruits brighten our greenhouses or sunny windows, they add inimitable flavor to the food we eat as well as being a good source of vitamins and nutrients.  

Lemons are an essential ingredient in my kitchen. Every morning when I rise, I drink a simple hot beverage of boiling water with a slice of lemon; it is a cleansing tonic and a great way to start the day. I use fresh-squeezed lemon juice in salad dressings, to brighten vegetables, salads, soups and sauces, with many fruits and desserts, and of course in homemade lemonade and syrups. Meyer lemons are unique with just a hint of orange to the nose and taste; they have a delightful fragrance and the zest is exceptional. I savor my box of lemons and give a few away as special gifts.  Lisbon and the gigantic Ponderosa lemons are also cultivars which I thoroughly enjoy.

The added perks of growing your own citrus, besides the fruit, are the blooms which precede them. Oranges, lemons and grapefruit have such lovely aromas—I have tried to capture them in syrups, cake batters, custards, sorbets and ice cream. Last year, I had enough blooms to infuse in cream and made an ethereal lemon flower gelato. They scent the entire greenhouse or room that they are in.

The only drawback that I have found with growing citrus indoors is scale. Scale are insects that have a hard-shelled cover which they conveniently conceal themselves under while they feed. They attach to all parts of plants and this armor makes it difficult to control them. Often the leaves on the plant become sticky or the scale leave behind a grey-looking soot which attracts ants. Right now, my ten-year-old lemon tree, has a case of scale that I need to remedy this week. I will take photos of the scale and show you how I do battle with this pest in an upcoming blog.

In the meantime, make yourself a cup of lemon water or add a slice to a cup of tea and enjoy some vitamin C!

Learn more about Meyer lemons at FineCooking.com. 


posted in: lemons, lemon trees, growing citrus

Comments (6)

Seloralmanra writes: I like this Lemons
Posted: 1:03 am on October 27th
SallyHanson writes: Good for health
Posted: 2:10 am on August 30th
ammyclark writes: Cool
Posted: 7:26 am on August 23rd
PaulMelody writes: This is very nice
Posted: 3:50 am on August 5th
vincentclark writes: Awesome
Posted: 12:47 am on August 2nd
jodied writes: My wonderful mother also sends me a "flat-rate" postal box full of the lemons that she grows in her back yard at just about the time I am ready to fly south!! It is the perfect cure indeed! I am not sure what the cultivar is, but I do know there is NOTHING like citrus picked fresh from the tree!! When I open the package, the scent of the fruit alone sends me spinning! It truly changes the taste (for the best!) of anything and everything you can make with a lemon.
Posted: 12:18 pm on March 15th
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