Lemons are popular fruits used in baking, cooking and for lemonade. They are grown all over the world; Italy is the world leader in the production of lemons. Although lemons may seem like a simple, tart fruit, there are many little-known facts that children find interesting. Whether you are providing the information to a classroom of curious kids, or to a group at summer camp, there are plenty of facts about lemons to share.
Most lemons you see in the store are Eureka or Lisbon lemons. Lemon trees can produce lemons year-round, and even come in dwarf varieties that can be grown in pots. Larger trees can produce between 227 and 272kg. of lemons a year. A quarter of lemon production is in the United States, with California and Arizona producing 95 per cent of the lemon crop. Lemons turn from green to yellow not because of ripeness, but because of temperature changes.
Uses for Lemon
Lemons have many interesting uses, other than cooking and making lemonade. Adding equal parts lemon juice to water and gargling can help with a sore throat. Another interesting use is for browning fruit. If you want to prevent a cut apple or pear from browning, squeeze a little lemon juice over it. For whiter fingernails or to combat fingernail stains, you can soak your nails in lemon juice for five minutes. People have also been know to rub lemons in their armpits to combat body odour.
Lemons as Medicine
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C and can prevent many ailments. In fact, the British Navy carries enough lemons on their ships so that every sailor can have a daily ounce of juice. Known to prevent scurvy, lemons were a big hit during the California Gold Rush of the 1840s. Miners drove the price of the citrus fruit up and lemon trees were planted all over the state.
Lemons in History
Food historians claim that lemons have been cultivated since the first century B.C. They were not, however, widely available. In fact, lemons were so rare in some parts of the world that kings would use them as gifts for other kings. Lemons had many uses in history, beyond the kitchen. During the Renaissance period in Europe -- and before lipstick was invented -- women used lemons to redden their lips.