Fruit – Vegetable – Tropical Fruits
The lemon originates from Asia, but its exact homeland is unknown. It is thought to come from the Eastern Himalayas, Southeast Asia or Southern China. The Arabs were familiar with it by the 10th Century, and the Europeans probably became aware of it about 200 years later. Nevertheless, for a long time European cooks did not acidise with the precious citrus fruit, but with sour apples or grapes. On his second journey in 1493, Christopher Columbus took the fruits to overseas. In 19th Century, commercial cultivation began in Italy, Spain, Florida and California.
Lemons are not tropical plants but rather need the mild climate of the subtropics. The trees, up to 7 m high, are among the most attractive plants in the Mediterranean. The tender white blooms, light green unripe and shining yellow ripe lemons hang together contemporaneously with the dark green foliage.
Lemons are cultivated in the subtropical regions. The largest producers are the USA, Italy and Spain.
They are imported all the year round at first from Spain and Italy, then from Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, South Africa and several South American countries.
The Juice and peel can be used in sweet dishes and for baking. They can be boiled down together with oranges for marmalade. Also, they can be squeezed for beverages, sorbets, sauces or sliced for decoration.
They may be stored for approximately 14 days in a refrigerator or 8 days at room temperature. Like all other citrus fruit, lemons will not continue to ripen after the harvest.