Spring is a time for freshness and cleanliness. Time to cleanse the palate after the overload of chocolate on Easter weekend. In other words… time for lemons.
Light, delicate and fresh lemon flavouring is used equally as successfully in savoury and sweet dishes, in body products and in home care products.
How to choose the perfect lemon: Usually the adage is “don’t squeeze the fruit” but in the case of lemons ignore that. The best way to assess a lemon is to give it a slight squeeze (we’re not talking here about a death grip). If the lemon is rock hard it’s no good, probably over or under ripe and won’t give you much juice. Too soft or mushy is definitely overripe and not a good choice. A lemon that gives slightly to a gentle squeeze will be the best bet. Look for a smooth peel that will indicate a thinner skin and a juicier fruit, avoid bumpy fruit. Avoid tinges of green which indicate an under-ripe fruit or a pale colour which means an older fruit past its prime. In hindsight I think the samples that I chose the other day that are pictured above have quite bumpy skin and if you look at the cut fruit you can see that the skin is quite thick. Apparently thinner skinned lemons would have been juicier.
How to store lemons: I love the look of a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter just as much as I like the look of a vase of flowers but apparently that’s about the worst way to store lemons if you are looking for longevity. According to Cooks Illustrated the best way to store lemons is in the refrigerator in a sturdy plastic bag not the flimsy one from the grocers veggie stand. CI did a test of different storage methods and the clear winner was the plastic bag in which the lemons lasted four times longer than if stored on the counter. Apparently loose in the fridge is better than room temperature but not nearly as good as the plastic bag.
Tomorrow I’m going to share an amazing lemon pudding recipe that is an old family favourite and Thursday I plan on sharing a recipe for a home-made lemon hand scrub. Here’s hoping that life hands you lemons this week!