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Lemons – Part of the Rutaceae family.  This fruit contains mainly sugars and fruit acids (mainly citric acids).  Lemon peel consists of two layers: the outermost layer – “Zest”, which contains essentials oils.  The inner layer instead contains a variety of bitter flavone glycosides and coumarin derivatives.  Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, folic acid, flavonoids, and phytochemical limonene.

How to buy/store – The heavier the lemon and the thinner the skin, the more juice it has.  A ripe lemon should be firm, with a fine textured peel with a deep yellow color.  A deep yellow lemon is less acidic than a lighter or greenish yellow one.  Surface marks usually do not affect the fruit inside.  Lemons should be stored at room temperature, away from sunlight.  They keep without refrigeration for about two weeks.  If kept in the refrigerator crisper, it is best to use a plastic bag, where they can remain up to six weeks.

How to use:  Lemons add a refreshing taste to a number of foods and drinks.  Add it to hot water for a cleansing taste.  Soak lemons in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for a light cooling taste.  Place thinly sliced lemons underneath and around fish before cooking.  Combine lemon juice with olive or flaxseed oil, freshly crushed garlic, and pepper to make a light, refreshing salad dressing.

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