Lemon


Lemon -

The lemon is a member of the citrus family, which includes oranges, grape fruit, etc., and is probably native to the north of India. The fruit is usually oval, wrinkled or furrowed, of various shades of yellow and, generally, with concave oil-cysts in the rind. Its chief merits are the abundance of citric acid contained in the pulp and the quantity of oil yielded by the rind. California produces an ever increasing quantity, but not yet enough to supply the demand, from 135 to 180 million pounds being imported from Italy every year.

The fruit is gathered, while still green, as soon as it has reached a marketable size, irrespective of the stage of maturity - if allowed to ripen on the tree, it becomes coarse and of poor quality. A flourishing grove is ordinarily picked once every month. The picker is frequently provided with a steel measure or gauge attached to his thumb, all fruit as large as, or over, the size of the gauge being clipped from the tree and placed in a bag suspended by shoulder straps (see opposite page).

After picking, the lemons are washed and then sorted according to their color - dark green (unripe); silver green (partly ripe) and yellow (ripe). The unripe and partly ripe are placed in storage, separately, to "cure," i.e., to color and mature. The tree-ripened fruit are usually shipped at once, because of their poor keeping qualities. The curing of the unripe fruit covers from two to four months, their keeping quality depending largely on the care exercised in the control of temperature and humidity during the process.

For market purposes, California lemons are generally sorted into two or three, and sometimes four, grades, based on the general texture of the skin - on appearance, whether scarred or not, color, form and general "style." Size is not considered in this grading. The best or Fancy fruit must have good color, fine texture, normal form and no scars, and be heavy and juicy. Thin-skinned lemons are generally considered the best. The next lower grade is called Choice. The third, Standard, includes fruit which may be irregular in shape and badly scarred and discolored but is still of fair fruit value. The fourth or lowest quality is known as Culls.

After grading, the lemons are sized by hand, ranging from 180 to 540 to the box, running generally from 240 to 490. The most desirable sizes are those ranging from 300 to 360 to the box.

The life of the lemons after leaving the packer depends also upon the care exercised in handling - they readily deteriorate if damaged by bruising or other abrasions of the skin. The only practicable method for holding them in large quantities for any considerable length of time is by cold storage. At a temperature of 40° Fahr., they will remain unimpaired in quality for eight to twelve weeks. For household purposes, if refrigerator space is not available, they keep much better when immersed in fresh cold water than if left to dry out on a shelf.

The photograph on page 332 is of some of the huge, rough-skinned lemons frequently seen in Italy. They sometimes reach eight and nine inches in length, with weight and width in full proportion.


Arround Lemon in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


Leicestershire Saucehome
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"LE"
Lemon Balm
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