Tuesday, July 3, 2012

lemons and lemonade

Lemon and flower

  I have come upon a recipe on the food network to make Lemonade.  I have tried making lemonade other times, but have been very disappointed in the outcomes.  This recipe is great.  Having said that so far I have not prepared the lemonade recipe the way it has been written,   The recipe calls for salt.  Well I made it with salt.  It was good.  But it tasted like a Margarita with out the booze.  Not bad at all, but not what I was looking for at this time.  The next time I did not have the full 2 cups of lemon juice it called for so I made it with 1 cup anyway and it turned out great.  Maybe one of these days I will have all/enough of the ingredients and can do the recipe the way it is printed.  I do think though I will leave out the salt.

Lemonade recipe


Remove wide strips of zest** from 2 lemons with a vegetable peeler (do not remove the pith). Make 2 cups simple syrup (recipe below), adding the lemon zest before heating. Let cool, then pour into an ice-filled pitcher. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt***, 2 cups each fresh lemon juice and water, and some lemon slices.

Simple Syrup: To make 2 cups simple syrup, bring 1 1/2cups each sugar and water to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Let cool. 
** I think this is the key to great lemonade.  The oils in the zest makes the lemonade pop!!
*** Like I said to me this makes it taste like a margarita.  I made without and loved it.

I am a retired teacher.  My daughter says I am a "recovering" teacher.  Anyone in the profession can tell you that's about it.  We talk about teaching, our triumphs and our not so good days, still when we come together. We don't even have to have taught in the same state  as the person you are talking to .  The conversation can start in Utah and then go to Maine and you just picks up where you left off.  Another thing is that we are life long teachers,"teaching" when and where ever we can.   So I can't help it I must do what I must.  So I have included information on the lemon for you to enjoy and maybe you might even learn something. 

It's a good day when you can get up and have fun and enjoy, but it's a great day when you learn something. 

                          The Learning Begins: so if you want to turn back, now is the time LOL

Did you know the Ancient Egyptians believed that eating lemons and drinking lemon juice was an effective protection against a variety of poisons, and that recent research has confirmed this belief?

There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use for weight loss because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances--notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene--that promote immunity and fight infection.

Lemons are one of the most common fruit trees. Both savory and sweet dishes benefit from the tangy, refreshing flavor of lemons. The zest, the juice, and the fruit (sliced or quartered) can be used. Lemon juice poured over other fruits prevents discoloration of the flesh when exposed to air. The juice can be used as a substitute for vinegar if a lighter-flavored vinaigrette is desired

Fun Facts About Lemons:

  • The ladies of Louis XIV's court used lemons to redden their lips.
  • Because of their high content of Vitamin C, the British Royal Navy loaded their ships’ stores with lemon to help sailors combat scurvy which is caused by Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Lemonade is thought to be an Egyptian original-at least according to the earliest documentary evidence. Sources say that lemon juice mixed with sugar was sold around the year 1104 in a Jewish community in the Egyptian city of Cairo.
  • The demand for lemons and their scurvy-preventing properties hit a peak during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Miners were willing to pay huge sums for a single lemon. As a result, lemon trees were planted in abundance throughout California.
  • Although early U.S. lemon production centered in Florida, California is now the lemon state, ranking No. 1 in lemon production. (Arizona is a distant second.) The fruit came to Sacramento with the 49ers, who relied on lemons for Vitamin C while mining. Soon after, California farmers adopted lemons as a crop.
  • Next time you have a sore throat, reach for a lemon! Add the juice of one lemon to an equal amount of hot water for an anti-bacterial gargle.
How To Purchase & Store Lemons: Choose smooth-skinned lemons that are heavy for their size. The skin should have a fine grain and bright yellow color. (Streaks of green on the skin of the lemon usually indicate more acidity.)
Avoid lemons that feel soft or spongy with skin that looks or feels wrinkled, bumpy, rough or hard. Coarse, thick-skinned and light lemons have less juice.
Lemons can be kept indoors at room temperature for about a week before they tend to become soft or wrinkled. For longer storage, store lemons in the refrigerator.
Lemons also can be preserved whole or quartered with salt. Preserved lemons are popular in Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes

Lemon Equivalents:
1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. 

How To Juice Lemons:

Room-temperature lemons or limes will yield more juice than those that are refrigerated.
Microwaving the lemon or lime for a few seconds before squeezing will help extract more juice. Don't overdo it. You don't want to boil the juice.
Use your palm to roll lemon or lime around on the countertop a few times before squeezing.
If just a few drops of juice are needed, pierce the skin with a toothpick and squeeze out what you need. To store it, reinsert the toothpick, put the lemon or lime into a plastic bag, and refrigerate.

Freeze the juice: Instead of keeping whole lemons, store the juice. Squeeze lemons, pour juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once they're solid, transfer the lemon cubes into a freezer bag, where they will keep for several months. Each cube equals the juice of one medium lemon.

 Zest is the outer colored portion of the citrus peel. Freshly grated orange, lime or lemon zest packs a flavor wallop no bottles dried zest can match. 

Zesting & Grating Tips:
If you are using a lemon for zest and juice, grate the zest first and then squeeze the juice.
When grating lemon peel, use this fast and easy trick. Cover the zest side of your grater with plastic wrap and grate the lemon over the plastic wrap (remember don't grate the bitter white pith that's under the peel). Most of the zest will remain on the plastic wrap and thus can't stick in the holes of the grater. Just pull the plastic wrap off and shake the zest onto a plate. 

Lemons should be firm and have a bright yellow color. Avoid soft, shriveled lemons with spots. The best lemons will be fine textured and heavy for their size. Thin skinned fruit tends to have more juice, while fruit that has a greenish cast is likely to be more acidic. One medium lemon has about 3 tablespoons of juice and 3 tablespoons of grated peel.
You may store lemons at room temperature for about two weeks. They will keep for up to six weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use lemons as quickly as possible after cutting.
There are two different types of lemons — acid and sweet. The most common acid varieties include Eurekas and Lisbons. The acidic type is grown commercially and the sweet types are grown mainly by home gardeners. The trees bloom continuously all year and can produce up to 500 or 600 lemons a year.

Quick Tips
  • Freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays for later use.
  • Add a twist of lemon to the water in ice cube trays for added zip to beverages.
  • Use juice on fruit or white vegetables to help them keep their color.
  • Remove odors, such as fish, onion, or bleach by rubbing with fresh lemon.
  • Lemon and salt can be used to treat rust spots, and to clean copper pots.
  • Get the most juice out of your lemon by warming it in the microwave for 15
    seconds or rolling it with your hand on the counter if it is at room temperature.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to whipping cream if it doesn't stiffen.

Did You Know
  • The lemon originated in China?
  • Lemonade was a favorite of the Chinese Emperors?
  • Lemons made their way to the United States with the help of Catholic Missionaries and were planted in Arizona and California? Today they produce virtually all of the lemons consumed in the United States as well as about one-third of those used throughout the world (source The Packer Produce Availability & Merchandising Guide, 1999).
Lemons are valued for their many uses in flavoring the food we eat, as a garnish, and for household purposes.
 What a complete package! Lemons are truly "earth friendly"; every part of the lemon is used in our culinary, health, and beauty creations.

Lemons are best when picked fresh from the tree. However, if you buy them at the store, select small juicy ones that have little to no green color on the skins.

Unlike other fruits whose skin is discarded, the skin of the lemon is grated into Zest (without the white pith between the skin and the fruit).. The juice is used for beverages and recipes, and to tenderize meats. The bulk of the fruit is used in marmalade and other delights.

When preparing other ingredients for your recipes, keep the cut and juiced lemon pieces to rub on your hands to remove garlic odor, or to freshen the cutting board. There's more in the Tips section.

 A Few Hot Lemon Tips
A lemon at room temperature will yield more juice.

Before juicing, press down firmly and roll the lemon on the kitchen counter to break up the pulp before juicing.

If the lemon is very cold, you can microwave it for a few seconds before squeezing.

Freeze for later
Freeze the juice in ice cube trays, when frozen save in a plastic bag.

Grate lemon zest; seal tightly in plastic bag & freeze.
Cooking extras

Put lemon wedges inside the cavity of a whole chicken.

Tenderize meat by marinating it in lemon juice.

Squeeze lemon on vegetables while steaming, to keep the colors bright.

Add it to rice while cooking to make it fluffier.
Dining Pleasure
If you are serving wine with dinner, substitute fresh lemon juice for vinegar in salad dressings.

A few drops of lemon juice improves the taste of other fruits.

LEMON OIL### Very interesting stuff here

Organically grown lemons are stripped of their skins and the rinds are cold-pressed to extract lemon oil. A kilo of lemon oil is extracted from about three thousand lemon rinds. Some principal chemical compounds found in the lemon rind are the compound limonene, as well as gamma-terpinene, the compound called beta-pinene, the compound called alpha-pinene and the sabinene compound.
The meningococcus bacteria is killed off within fifteen minutes by the vaporized lemon essence, the typhoid bacilli takes just an hour to be eliminated in this treatment, in two hours the Staphylococcus aureus strain can be defeated using the essence, while the Pneumococcus bacterial strain will die off within three hours of use. As little as a 0.2 percent solution made of the lemon oil will result in the elimination of the diphtheria bacterial strain in twenty minutes. This same dilute solution also acts to permanently inactivate the tuberculosis bacterial strain.
The strong anti-septic like properties of the lemon oil is one well researched effect. Lemon also contains classes of compounds that are being investigated for their immune function in the laboratory.
Various types of digestive problems, soreness in the throat, persistent anxiety, blood pressure problems, digestive and different types of respiratory infections may also be beneficially treated using the remedies made from the lemon. The lemon based remedy aids the formation and development of leukocytes in the blood, it helps improve and boost the memory, it actively strengthens nails, and also induces a sense of well being in the person, while having a cleansing effect on the skin. At the same time, anti-depressant effects induced by the lemon oil have also been observed in human trials under clinical test conditions.
The therapeutic grade essential oil of lemon has a great potency, and there are no known virus or bacterial agent which can live in the presence of this oil for any length of time - not a single strain or viral particle capable of resisting this oil has been found to date. Viruses often mutate and develop immunity to any class of antibiotics; however, no virus has been able to breach the potency of the essential oils present in the lemon. Hospitals in Europe and England made extensive use of the lemon oil and it is still diffused these days as well. One very unique blend of the essential oils was placed under clinical trials at Weber State University, in order to gauge the potency of the antimicrobial actions; the results astounded the researchers as the kill rate of the oil was 99.96 percent against common airborne bacterial pathogens.

Your learning about lemons is done .  Neat information?? yes.

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