Spring is officially in the air, and with warmer weather comes brighter colors and fresh flavors as Food Lion invites customers to stop and "smell the lemons" in our stores.
With their distinct clean smell and tangy flavor, lemons are among the most universally loved fruits. Little known to most, lemons have hundreds of uses, from cooking to cleaning, to staying healthy – physically and emotionally.
The lowdown on lemons
Two major types of lemons are found in the marketplace: the Eureka and the Lisbon. However, they are so similar in flavor, size and shape that both varieties have become known simply as lemons, and are even packaged together by growers.
A major benefit of lemons is they are in season year-round because the various lemon growing areas harvest at different times of year. Sunkist, whose farmers produce 95 percent of the lemons grown in the United States, harvests lemons in California during the spring and summer months, and Arizona during the fall and winter months, thereby providing fruit for lemon lovers all year long.
Choosing the perfect lemons and keeping them fresh
Food Lion is committed to providing fresh produce for our customers, including a great assortment of lemons. When shopping for the perfect lemons, be sure to choose fruit that feels firm and heavy for its size. Lemons that are fully ripe should also have smooth skin and no soft spots.
Lemons can stay fresh for up to several weeks when stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or crisper, or for several days at room temperature. Never freeze whole lemons, as this will cause the juice sacs to burst, leaving the pulp dry and mushy upon thawing. Instead, squeeze the juice separately into small amounts using an ice tray. Zest can also be frozen and stored for up to six months.
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and are listed as “Nutrition Superstars” by the American Diabetes Association. Adding fresh lemons in place of salt can also help lower sodium in your favorite dishes without sacrificing flavor. Additionally, you can rest assured that lemons are fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories.
Something many people may not know, however, is that adding a touch of lemon to your daily routine can provide stress relief.
Cleaning with Zest
While vinegar is often a popular choice for a non-chemical cleaning substitute, lemons also have natural cleaning benefits.
Considered nature's own room freshener, a bowl of lemons set out in any room creates a lovely aroma in the home. Lemons can work to remove even the toughest odors. For example, rubbing lemon wedges on cutting boards and grinding lemon peels in garbage disposals eliminate odors in seconds.
Additionally, grease and oil, as well as odors such as onion, fish or even household bleach, can be removed from the hands by rubbing them with a wedge of lemon. Lemons can also help keep hands smooth and soft.
Fresh lemon juice can also clean copper. Create a paste of lemon juice and salt and rub the item with the mixture to remove any oxidation. Be sure to rinse very well with water and dry. Lemon juice is also an excellent glass cleaner. Soaking glasses, especially decanters and coffee pots, in lemon juice and water renews their sparkle and shine.
An added benefit to cleaning with lemons: they are natural and environmentally friendly! Left over lemon peels can be used to fertilize plants needing extra acidity, such as roses, with no harsh chemicals.
Keep these lemon tips and benefits in mind the next time you shop! Visit your local Food Lion store to try them out yourself! Also, print the attached 'Top Uses for Lemons" tip card to hang on your refrigerator whenever you need a quick reference.
For more lemon information, tips, tricks and benefits, visit http://www.sunkist.com/products/lemons.aspx.