How To Choose The Right Lemon?

When choosing a lemon, you can ignore the color of the peel and the size. It is much more important to determine the ripeness and quality of the fruit. This is done visually. It is not necessary to cut the lemon to determine its quality.

The shape of lemons can be round, or oval, with elongated stalks or tips, as well as elongated fruits. The reason for this diversity is the varieties of these citrus fruits. Almost all varieties taste the same.

In a broad sense, lemons can be divided into two categories depending on the thickness of the skin:

  • thin-skinned.
  • with a thick peel.

It is difficult to say that some lemons can be bought and others cannot. Both of these types are consumed in different ways. For example, thick-skinned lemons are ideal for adding to soups or drinks, while thin-skinned fruits are best bought when juice is important.

Sometimes lemons can have a bitter taste. This quality is not characteristic of good ripe fruit. There can be two reasons for bitterness: improper storage or treatment with antibiotics to extend the shelf life. The natural cause of the bitter taste may be the unripe condition of the fruit. You can get rid of the bitterness of lemon with boiling water: the fruit is dipped in boiling water for a few seconds, and then consumed as planned.

What lemons are worth buying

  • the surface of the lemon should have a uniform color without dark spots or specks.
  • the lemon peel should be smooth without depressions, wrinkles, or wilted areas.
  • the lemon aroma should be felt through the peel and be characteristic of this type of citrus.
  • if you slightly squeeze the lemon in your hand, its peel should be elastic (too hard lemon will be unripe).
  • A ripe lemon can only be yellow.
  • if you apply a napkin to the lemon, then traces of essential oils should remain on its surface (if there are no traces, this does not mean that the fruit is of poor quality, and the release of oil indicates the absence of chemical treatment).
  • lemons with thin and smooth skin are characterized by higher indicators of useful properties (such fruits are usually removed at the first harvest of the tree).

What lemons are not recommended to buy

  • if the lemon peel is not even, then when the fruit is cut, it will also be thick (there will be too much peel and not enough pulp).
  • if black dots or small spots appear on the surface of the lemon, then the fruit was stored improperly and, most likely, was overcooled (the taste of such a lemon will be bitter).
  • dark and sluggish spots on the peel indicate the beginning of the rotting process (the taste of the lemon will be spoiled, and the amount of juice will be several times less).
  • lemons with a too-shiny surface have been treated with chemicals or paraffin.
  • if the lemon does not smell, it was grown with the use of a large number of chemicals.
  • If you squeeze the lemon in your hand, its skin is soft and does not spring, then the fruit is overripe.
  • greenish or green spots on the skin of the lemon are a sign of its immaturity.
  • a sluggish lemon peel may be the result of improper storage, overripeness, or rotting of the fruit from the inside (there may be no brown spots or dots on the surface of the peel).

You can buy unripe lemons. This option is acceptable, for example, if you do not plan to eat citrus fruits immediately after purchasing them. At room temperature, the fruits ripen quickly enough.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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