Clasa a 12-a B
Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân”
Summer. Sun. Beach. A glass of refreshing lemonade with ice in hand. What could be more wonderful? This is the first image, as if removed from a TV commercial, when we think of the sour yet jucy fruits called lemons. Few know though that these citrus fruits have an extraordinary nutritive value.
Shrub from the Rutaceae family and from the Sapindales order, the lemon tree (Citrus limon) is a fruiter shrub, natived in Asia. There are split opinions, supporting not only the Chinese and Iranian origin, but also the Indian one. The trees were brought by Arabians in Mediteraneean European countries, such as Greece and Italy. In the Ancient history and Middle Age, these fruits were used on medical purpose against epidemics, snake bites and intestinal worms, and later against plague and poisons.
The tree has a height of 2 to 4 meters, with leaves always green and shiny, and white flowers. The ripe fruits are sour, long spherical-shaped and have a rind that can turn into deep yellow at maturity. To be harvested, the lemon tree needs growth conditions offered by warm climates, such as bright light, high temperatures and a lot of water. As a houseplant, the branches need to be cut short in order to sustain the fruits. These are harvested in late summer, from August until September.
From a chemical point of view, in 100g of raw lemon without peel we can find an impressive variety of chemical elements and vitamins. The water occupies over 80% of the fruit’s content, the rest being represented by proteins, carbohydrates and light sugars. Potasium (138mg), Calcium (26mg), Phosphor (16mg) and Magnesium (8mg) are a few of the component chemical elements; as for vitamins, the lemon is abounding in Vitamin C (53mg), B5 (0,19mg), B3 (0,100mg), B6 (0,080mg) and others.
What is lemon good for?
The vitamin C in the fruit brings a lot of benefits on a medical level, preventing asthma, diabetes and improves the immunity system. It also has antioxidizing and anticancerous effects, helps to diminish gastrides, the nervous system disorders and stomachal infections. An interesting detail is the lemon juice’s contribution to neutralise the excess of gastric acidity, paradoxially, providing the acidic nature of the fruit. Its effects over one’s spirits have also been proven through aromatherapy, highlighting the feelings of frienship and love. The lemon oil has a special impact on the circulatory system and on the leukocytes, helping their regeneration and strengthening the immunity of the organism.
The lemon and its juice are used in cosmetics for healing furuncles, cuts and stings. They have benefic effects on the skin, softening it, and fight against buccal conditions. The citronelle from the fruit’s peel is used for producing bottles of eau de toilette, having a strong pleasant scent. For housecleaning, the products which contain lemon serve as deodorants and also for grease and stain removal. The juice is also used for the disinfection of potable water and, thanks to the vitamin C, stops the chopped fruits and vegetables from oxidation.
On educational puropse, the lemon is not only a source of nutritious substances, but also a good example of the way electricity is produced with the help of electrodes attached to the fruit.
The lemon consumption is recommended not only as raw fruits, but also under liquid form, in juices, infusions and oils. It is preferable to consume lemon slices in the morning to prevent hepatitis, before eating anything else. In order to obtain more juice, the fruits must be kept in warm water for approximately 5 minutes.
For French people, the lemon is an important symbol in Menton on the Cote d’Azur. The legend says that Eve stole from the Garden of Eden a lemon tree and planted it in this city. To celebrate this, every year it is organised the Festival of Lemons, as a colourful and “delicious” festival, whose main point of interest are the citrus fruits. Carousels and immense figurines are being built from lemons and oranges. Every year there is a different theme, testing the imagination of farmers and gardeners.
Maybe immediately after thinking of a lemon, you can feel its sour taste on your tongue; yet, the next recipe will ravish your taste buds. The raw-vegan lemon cake can be easily prepared, with delicious ingredients that can easily be found.
For the countertop you need 200g of almonds and 10-12 dates, from which the dough is prepared with the blender. The cream is made from mixing 400g of Cajun nuts, the juice from half a lemon, half a cup of water and 3-4 spoons of honey. After this, add and mix another 2-3 spoons of melted coconut and 6-7 spoons of poppy. The mixture is put on the countertop and then placed in the freezer until the cream stiffs.
And what is a cake without a flavored natural juice? For the ones who want a lemon overdose, you can always prepare lemonade with mint and ice, which perfectly combines the sour taste of lemon, mineral water and refreshing mint.
Cold lemonade reminds me of the time when my younger sister and I were just two little carefree girls playing in the backyard of our grandmother’s house. We used to watch cartoons and see the characters making lemonade and selling it during hot days of summer to the neighbours. Playfully, we thought of doing the same in grandma’s garden, guarded by our puppy. Our grandfather then came to our “shop” to buy lemonade and cookies “borrowed” from the kitchen. I remember even now that we used to bargain with him for a few dimes, but in the end he would give us the sum we asked for and even more. Even though the juice was either too sour or too sweet, he did not mind and we felt proud that the “business” was going well (and that at the end of the day we would have enough money to buy ice cream for both of us).
Now, everytime I drink lemonade I feel relaxed and I remember the little pleasures of life. After all, what they say is true: when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.