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February, 2013

If Life Hands You Lemons... Make Lemonade!
By Mark Mulcahy


Lemons can be used for everything, especially when it comes to healthy living, because they are so good for you. Lemons

That’s what the Mongolians did with this native of Asia around 1299, and it may be one reason the crusaders brought them back to Europe. Columbus may have thought they would make for good trading with the locals in the New World, as he is credited with bringing them here on his second trip. Wild groves of lemons were a common sight in Florida until they were wiped out in 1894 by a heavy freeze.

California started planting them to supply fruit for the gold miners and is still the leading U.S. lemon-producing state. And are we glad they did! I mean, lemons can be used for everything, especially when it comes to healthy living, because they are so good for you. Lemon juice contains high levels of potassium and vitamin C, a strong antioxidant. Lemon juice is also a mild diuretic, so adding lemons to your drinking water can help support your liver and kidneys in their natural job of flushing out toxins.

As a matter of fact I make up a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and fresh ginger to drink before and after my bikram yoga class. My friend Sitarani Palomar (sita@chefsita.com) gave me a great recipe that I mix up fresh every few days.

Just combine 3-4 tablespoons of fresh Melissa’s organic lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of Melissa’s fresh ginger juice, a heaping spoonful of fresh local honey, and a generous pinch of cayenne - and viola! You’ve got something that is great for you and tastes pretty good too. It can also be used when you have a cold - just switch the cold water for hot water and feel the cold melt away.

To get the most juice from your Melissa’s organic lemons, put them on the counter at room temp, then roll them a bit before you squeeze. When choosing lemons, think about when you will use them. If you need them around for a long time, choose them a little harder. If you want to use them in the next few days, choose ones that have a bright yellow color, are heavy for their size and have just a little give when gently squeezed in the palm of your hand.

Once you’ve got them home here’s a couple of cooking tips that may come in handy:

Add a squeeze of lemon to your water when cooking pasta and it will help to prevent the stickiness when done.

A little lemon juice will also make your cooked potatoes or cauliflower a little whiter as well.

If you like to cook fish, onions or garlic and want to remove the smell from your fingers, try rubbing a little lemon juice on them.

Lastly, you may find this interesting about organic lemon growing. Did you know that lemon trees require a lot of nitrogen? Many organic growers use compost and cover crops to feed their trees. This pays off in the long run as organic growers find that after many years they need fewer inputs due to a healthy soil environment. Healthier soil holds more moisture, thus preserving precious water. Cover crops also provide habitat for beneficial insects and keep weeds at bay.