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Is a lemon a fruit or vegetable? If this question has passed through your mind at one point or another, then don’t worry, as you certainly are not the only one. It’s unsurprising to see more than one person get stumped when they see lemons sitting in the vegetable section of one supermarket and then also them in the fruit aisle at another store. Then, the whole botanical vs. culinary term of fruits and vegetables has sparked many arguments in kitchens worldwide. So, is a lemon a fruit or vegetable? The answer may surprise you.
A lemon is a fruit. To be more precise, it is a citrus fruit. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what the lemon is and what makes it such an essential part of your diet. We’ll also tackle why people get confused about the lemon’s classification.
What Makes the Lemon a Fruit?
Lemons come from an evergreen tree called Citrus limon. There is absolutely no doubt that it is a fruit, and this is the reason why: a fruit is described as any structure that has seeds in it. So a fruit has to be a seed-bearing structure before it can be properly classified as a fruit and not a berry. Berries are a kind of fruit that does not produce a stony pit in the center, and this is its most defining characteristic, one that sets it apart from fruits that have a stony pit.
Genetic analyses of lemon have shown that it shares DNA with two other plants, which are citron and bitter orange. This essentially means that these two plants were purposely crossed to create the evergreen tree. However, it does not mean that the lemons are unnatural, but rather, it simply means that they are a result of botanical attempts to produce better products.
What’s inside a lemon?
Lemons are as natural as they can be. They are a staple in kitchens everywhere and are used for a variety of culinary purposes. Lemon juice is estimated to be 5% citric acid, thus giving it its intensely sour taste. On the other hand, lemon juice’s pH level is set at 2.2, making it one of the most acidic natural substances on earth.
Common uses for lemons
This intense sour taste makes lemon juice an important element in either beverage or food recipes. And because of its acidity and flavor profile, it will always be a crucial part of the kitchen. Simply put, beloved pies and other pastries just won’t taste quite the same without the distinct sourness that lemons bring. Now that we’ve established the lemon’s classification and its distinct place in the kitchen, why do people still get the idea that it’s a vegetable?
Why are lemons sometimes confused as vegetables?
Perhaps the reason for this has to do with how markets organize products. You may get confused because there are times when you would find lemons in the produce section of the supermarket, sitting next to a whole lot of vegetables.
The reason for this may be because lemons can be used in savory dishes, and supermarkets want to make it more convenient for shoppers by just placing lemons right next to the vegetables. And so, even if you see lemons placed right next to the lettuce or the squash, think nothing of it. A lemon is a fruit.
Juicy Facts About Lemons That You May Not Know About
There’s plenty more to learn about this juicy, citrusy fruit. Here are many other interesting facts about lemons:
- Historians believe that lemons may have been around ever since the first century A.D.
- It is believed that lemons’ roots can be traced back to the Mediterranean.
- The three most common varieties are the Eureka, Lisbon and the Bearss.
- Lemon trees can produce up to 600 pounds worth of fruits in a single year and can grow as tall as 20 feet.
- California and Arizona are the states that are responsible for producing the most lemon crop, accounting for 95% of the crop.
- The British Navy requires that all of its ships have sufficient stock of lemons so that every crew member may be able to have an ounce of juice each day.
- On average, the lemon has eight seeds.
- A lemon, on average, can produce three tablespoons of juice.
- A single lemon is estimated to contain 15 calories.
- Sprinkling the juice on other fruits can help them from turning brown.
- The combination of lemon juice and warm water has long been considered to be particularly effective for sore throat because of its antibacterial properties.
- Back in ancient times, lemons were so rare that kings used to give them to other kings as gifts.
- At the height of the California Gold Rush in 1849, miners were more than willing to pony up huge amounts of money for one lemon.
- During the Renaissance period, women used lemon juice to redden their lips.
- If you want to give your hair some highlights the natural way, simply apply lemon juice every day for a week.
- Rich Victorians grew lemon trees on their property as a sign of prestige.
Is a lemon a fruit or a vegetable?
While at times the supermarket perception of a lemon is that is more closely aligned with vegetables, in reality it is nothing more than marketing and product placement. A lemon is indeed a fruit and not a vegetable. Make sure to should head over to your local supermarket to stock up on it and enjoy its many benefits.