Lemons

lemmonBY: Kurt Nolte

• Arizona is the second-biggest lemon producing state in the U.S., behind only California. And in Arizona, Yuma County ranks No. 1 for lemon production. Lemons are by far the largest citrus crop in Yuma County with 7,155 acres in lemon production in 2007, and a gross value of $18.86 million.

• Arizona lemons are marketed both domestically and internationally, mostly through contracts with Sunkist packinghouses.

• Mature lemon trees may produce between 1,000 and 2,000 lemons per year.

• The cultivated lemon is probably a hybrid of two wild species.

• Lemons were first brought from the Middle East to Spain and northern Africa during the Middle Ages.

• While rarely consumed on their own, lemons make a major contribution to the flavors of many foods we eat. Although you wouldn’t choose this tart citrus fruit for a snack, you might well squeeze some lemon juice over a fish fillet, add a wedge of lemon to your tea or grate some flavorful lemon zest into your favorite cookie dough.

• Homemakers and caterers often use the rind and pulp in lemon for baking and cooking purposes. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to fresh cut fruit or a fruit salad will keep fruits like apples and pears from going brown and add that extra nutritional zip.

• More than its tart-like taste and its use as lemon juice or lemonade, this little fruit has immense medicinal or healing features. Lemon is the single best source of vitamin C. It has been found that a single lemon contains as much as 40 mg of vitamin C, which is the recommended intake per day. Vitamin C in lemons reduces the levels of histamine, which is responsible for contributing to stuffed noses and runny eyes. This is why people are advised to drink lemony drinks while suffering from a cold.

• Lemon juice helps digestion and helps the liver rid itself of any impurities as an aid in losing weight.

• For whiter fingernails and to get rid of fingernail stains, soak your fingertips in fresh squeezed lemon juice for about five minutes.

Source: Kurt Nolte is an agriculture agent and Yuma County Cooperative Extension director. He can be reached at knolte@cals.arizona.edu or 726-3904. For additional information please visit https://extension.arizona.edu/yuma.