Lemons are evergreen trees native to Asia. Lemon trees have smooth, green oval leaves which produce fragrant flowers in the winter followed by the tart yellow fruits we know and love.
Lemon trees prefer a warm habitat, full sun and no frost. Lucky for those of us who live where winter still happens, lemon trees can be grown indoors and there are dwarf varieties that fit nicely in large pots that you can bring indoors whenever the temperature dips below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lemons prefer well-drained, slightly acid (but not too acid) soil. Mulch thickly, but don't let the mulch touch the trunk. Water deeply weekly, but give your tree a good misting daily. Deadhead the flowers that appear for the first few years to give the tree a chance to establish its root system before it puts energy into making fruit.
Meyer lemons are recommended as a good variety for growing indoors.
If your tree is indoors all the time, you may need to artificially pollinate it to get fruit. Use a q-tip to move pollen from one flower to another.
Harvesting & Storage
Lemons are ripe when they are bright yellow and firm and smell marvelous.
They can be stored at room temperature for several days and for several weeks in the fridge. The peel can be dried on paper towels and stored in sealed jars for up to a year for use in cooking or potpourri. Leaves can be plucked as needed.
Lemon trees make great bonsai specimens.
Lemon juice is a great rinse for hair and will gradually lighten hair if used regularly.
Show your kids how to use lemon to send secret messages to their friends. Write with a toothpick dipped in lemon juice and let it dry. Heat over a light bulb (or whatever) to make the message reappear!
Lemon juice is purifying and cleansing and can be used to that capacity in ritual, try using it as an asperge or using lemon bath products in your ritual bath. Lemon leaf can be added to a bath tea for the same purpose. Either lemon oil can be added to wash water, or lemon leaf can be steeped in it to cleanse your home.
Lemon flowers are used in love spells and the rind can be added to baked goods prepared with loving intent.
The fruit can be used to turn away harmful spells or the evil eye.
The juice of one fresh, organic lemon mixed with six ounces of water is a wonderful cleansing and purifying tonic to be drunk twice a day! It helps with digestion by assisting in the cleansing of the entire digestive tract and can relieve bloating, indigestion, gas, constipation and diarrhea. It is also a liver stimulant and helps cleanse the system of toxins, particularly uric acid. It is useful for rheumatism, excessive menstruation, asthma and supports the immune system during times of illness.
Served hot with a bit of honey, lemon water is a traditional remedy for all manner of colds, fevers, sore throats and general congestion.
Drinking lemon water regularly will ensure proper digestion of your food and absorption its nutrients.
Lemon water should be used instead of oral electrolyte solutions (like Pedialyte or Gatorade) for re-hydrating purposes because it works and it has less sugar.
Some people are sensitive to lemons. This may manifest as a headache or asthmatic symptoms. The acid in lemons is damaging to tooth enamel.
Lemons have a variety of culinary uses.
It is often used in beverages such as lemonade, tea, and lemon water.
Lemon juice sprinkled over other fruit or potatoes will prevent them from turning brown after they are cut and peeled.
Lemon juice is a traditional flavoring for fish, and is also good on rice and bean dishes. Try this instead of salt.
Lemon peels contain pectin, which helps set jams and jellies. They are also frequently added to candies, cookies, cakes and other sweets.
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