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Extra Ingredients

What are lemons?

Lemons are a citrus fruit, typically round and yellow in color, with a juicy, acidic flesh. They are a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, and their juice is often used as a garnish or a seasoning in drinks and food. Lemons are also used for their essential oil, which has a variety of uses in cleaning and other household and personal care products, as well as in perfumery and aromatherapy.

cooking with lemons

What are the different varieties of lemon?

There are several different varieties of lemon, each with their own unique characteristics. Some of the most well-known varieties include:

  • Eureka lemon: A thick-skinned variety that is highly acidic and has few seeds. It is the most common lemon variety found in grocery stores.
  • Lisbon lemon: A thin-skinned variety that is less acidic and sweeter than the Eureka lemon. It has a high juice content and few seeds.
  • Meyer lemon: A hybrid variety that is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. It has a sweeter, less acidic taste than other lemon varieties and a thin, smooth skin.
  • Ponderosa lemon: A large, thick-skinned variety that has a highly acidic, strong lemon flavor and a high juice content.
  • Villa Franca lemon: A variety grown in Italy, with a smooth, thin rind, and a high juice content, used as table fruit.

These are just a few examples, and many other lemon varieties also exist across the world, with different characteristcs, growing seasons, disease resistances, and culinary/gastronomic uses.

How do you use lemon in cooking?

Lemons are a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, due to their bright and acidic flavor. Here are a few ways that lemons are commonly used in cooking:

  • Lemon juice is often used to add flavor to marinades and dressings, as well as to balance out rich or heavy dishes.
  • Lemons can be used to add a bright and refreshing flavor to seafood, poultry, and vegetable dishes.
  • Lemon zest, which is the outermost layer of the lemon peel, is used to add a subtle lemon flavor to a wide range of dishes, including baked goods, pasta dishes, and desserts.
  • Lemon juice can also be used to prevent fruits and vegetables from browning when they are cut.
  • Lemon can be used as a preservative, by adding lemon juice to a dish you can increase its shelf life.
  • Lemon juice can also be used to deglaze a pan (remove the caramelized bits stuck on the pan after sautéing)
  • Lemons are also very versatile in both sweet and savory cooking, and are often paired with herbs like rosemary and thyme, and can be used to make confiture, syrups, and jams.

It’s important to note that while lemon juice and zest can enhance the flavors in a dish, it can also be overpowering if used in excess. So it’s important to add it gradually and adjust to personal taste.

What are some good dishes to make with lemon?

Lemons add a bright, acidic flavor to a wide range of dishes, making them a versatile ingredient for cooking and baking. Here are a few dish ideas that incorporate lemons:

  • Lemon chicken: A classic dish made with chicken breasts that are pan-seared and then baked in a lemon butter sauce.
  • Lemon risotto: A creamy risotto flavored with lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Lemon herb salmon: A simple and healthy dish made with fresh salmon, herbs and a lemon butter sauce.
  • Lemon olive oil cake: A moist and flavorful cake made with olive oil and lemon zest
  • Lemon and herb roasted vegetables: Roasting vegetables with lemon and herbs bring out the flavors of both.
  • Lemon pasta: A simple dish made with pasta, lemon juice, and zest, butter, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Shrimp: A flavorful and easy seafood dish with a tangy lemony marinade.
  • Lemon bars: A classic dessert made with a buttery crust and a tangy lemon filling.
  • Lemon Sorbet: A classic and refreshing summertime dessert, a perfect palate cleanser between courses.

These are just a few examples, but lemons can be used in many other dishes, from drinks and appetizers, to entrees and desserts. The possibilities are many and the results are often very delicious, adding a bright and fresh touch to any recipe.

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