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My Love Affair With Lemons


People move to California for many reasons. To be a movie star. Or the next Steve Jobs. Maybe even a world-renowned Napa winegrower. I came for the Meyer Lemons (ok, the Bay area farmer’s market helped. But it was really for the Meyers. No joke). Meyer lemons are grown here and don’t usually find their way out of the state. For a cook they are a precious jewel that animates any dish.

My love affair with lemons is more than skin deep. Lemons — and not just Meyer - are one of the most important allies I have when I cook, with the most health benefit of any fruit. Lucky for us!

The beautiful bright yellow fruit’s inner beauty lies in its mouth-puckering juice. The sour taste of a lemon’s acidic juice chemically catalyzes food; they’re actually nature’s flavor finders, powerfully drawing out hidden flavors the way a cut in a cactus’ flesh can pull moisture from a seemingly barren source. Lemons are the most common culinary acids I use to brighten flavors. Also, if you recall your ninth grade biology, disease often makes the body’s PH too acidic. Lemons, when broken down by the body, increase our alkaline or base PH, bringing us more into balance.

What science class taught us, our ancestors knew instinctively. Call it folk medicine if you will, but my great grandfather, Pop, began each day with a cup of hot water and lemon juice. A tonic for the common cold and just about anything that ails you, the lemon is a powerhouse of that most infamous of antioxidants — Vitamin C — which boosts the immune system. It also contains limonene, a chemical shown to slow the growth of tumors. The list of health properties goes on and on. The antiseptic qualities of lemons help kill germs, and are a better choice than Listerine for killing germs in the mouth area, especially if you have a sore throat. The lemon is high in potassium, strengthening and energizing the heart, its hydrogen activates the sensory nervous system, and its calcium builds the lungs.

Did I miss something?

Oh yeah.

Lemons make great lemonade. Now, I'm going to harvest some Meyer's from my tree, and brew a batch and bring the promise of summer to the dog days of winter.

Yum!

My Pop’s Morning Brew

Ingredients: 8 ounces of hot water, juice of a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon Organic Grade B Maple Syrup. Drink upon rising.

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A consultant, speaker, teacher and chef, Rebecca works closely with patients, physicians, and wellness professionals to include the powerful tool of nutrition in their medical arsenal.
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