What’s in the Garden?
Lemons are in the gardens all over Long Beach. Drive through any neighborhood, and you will see branches drooping to the ground because they are covered with bright yellow bursts of sunshine. Lemons are the world’s healthiest fruit. They originated in in Asia and have been cultivated in China and India for 2500 years. They were brought to Spain in the12 century. Christopher Columbus brought the lemon to the Americas on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. Lemons have been growing in Florida since the 16th century.Lemons are used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout the world. It may be a little fruit, but it has a powerful punch.
In the Kitchen:
- Add to water for a refreshing drink
- Garnish a wine spritzer
- Mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a quick salad dressing
- Wine, lemons, butter, and capers are perfect over chicken or fish
- Zest over steamed or sautéed vegetable to bring out the their bright flavors
- Substitute lemon juice for salt to reduce your sodium intake
- Squeeze a whole lemon in hot water to start your day and wake up your internal organs
- It is also a washing agent
- Stain Remover
- And Mosquito repellant
In the Medicine Cabinet – Treatment for…
- Throat infection
- Dental problems
- Burns / sun burns
- Strengthen immune system
- Blood purifier
- Help release asthma attack
- Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Help with Acne and eczema
- Weight loss
- Internal bleeding
It is a good practice to eat a quarter to half a lemon every day to get the maximum benefits. Lemons are high in vitamin C, B6, E, folate, and the list goes on. Lemon also contains potassium which helps calm both your mind and body. Squeeze the juice on your hair to add extra shine. It is also an anti-aging remedy. Wash your face with lemon and it will help clean the pores, and reduces wrinkles. Drink lemon water with honey and your skin will have a healthy glow.
In order to have a lemon a day, plant a lemon tree. There ae several types of lemons. The most common lemons in California are the Meyer and Eureka. The Meyer Lemon is very juicy and mild in flavor. The Eureka Lemon has the classic tart taste. It is the most common lemon found in markets and grows year round.
Tips for Growing Lemon Trees:
- Protect from cold weather and especially frost
- Plant near the south side of the house
- Prefer well-drained slightly acidic soil
- Require regular full sunlight
- Require deep watering once weekly
If you have an abundance of lemons you can always bake with them. They are great in desserts. A classic cake flavored with lemon makes the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea. Tea cakes have many different definitions depending on what part of the world you are from. England prefers a sweet yeast based buns that contain dried fruit. Sweden has a sweetened wheat soda bread served warm with butter and jam. India prefers a spongy cake, and in North America you will find a dense fruit flavored cake.
Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Cake
Ingredients: makes (3) mini loaves or (1) large loaf
- 2 tablespoons Poppy Seeds
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
- 1/3 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/3 cup Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 11/2 cup Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, & poppy seeds
- In Mix Master or with an electric mixer cream butter, sugar, and lemon juice until fluffy
- Add eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture one at a time and mix well
- Pour half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and slowly mix
- Pour half of the milk into the batter and slowly mix; repeat until you have incorporated all of the flour and milk
- Fold in lemon zest by hand
- Pour batter into greased pans and bake for 40 minutes until the edges are golden, and a tooth pick is clear when dipped into the finished cake
- Poke holes on top of the cake and pour glaze
- Let rest at least (15) minutes before removing from pans
- Slice and serve
- If freezing, be sure to bring the cake to room temperature beGlaze:fore slicing it.
- While cake is baking bring sugar and lemon juice to a gentle boil on the stove top
- Let simmer for (5) minutes and remove from heat
- Pour on top of hot cake
Serve this cake with fresh whipped cream and berries for a refreshing dessert, and the kids will love this easy grab and go afternoon snack.
Visit your neighborhood home garden store and find the perfect lemon tree for your yard. You will be able to enjoy lemons year round, look good, and stay healthy.