Did you know that lemons were not cultivated as food until the 19th century? Check out episode 12 of ‘Bite On This’ to know some of the best uses of this citrus fruit.
“Farming is not rocket science, anyone can do it. You just have to begin,” says Abhishek Jain from Sangramgarh in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district. Since 2007, he has been growing organic lemons and guavas on his “tees bhiga zameen,” which loosely translates to 15-17 acres of land.
India is the largest producer of limes and lemons in the world with an estimated production of three million tonnes per annum. All through the year, markets are flush with the fruit. In contrast to other cash crops that require high input costs, farmers going organic can earn high returns on the lemon.
And Abhishek is just one of them.
“Lemons have changed my life. My average income from two acres of lemons is Rs 6 lakh, with nearly Rs 1-1.5 lakh as expenditure. Some of the trees planted by my father are almost 18 years old.”
Clearly, lemons in life can fetch you lakhs of rupees in profits.
They also make you healthy.
“Lemons have a lot of benefits when it comes to weight loss… that’s because one lemon has very few calories,” says Dr Archana Batra, a certified nutritionist and dietician based in Gurugram. Since 2012, she’s been educating clients who approach her for different health concerns—losing and gaining weight being the most common ones.
“It’s a good idea to consume lemon water along with iron-rich meals. It increases the absorption of iron from your food. It keeps you hydrated and there are lesser chances that you will binge on junk. So it is also advisable to have a glass of lemon water or lemon-infused water whenever you feel hungry at an unusual time.”
But what if you’re not looking to lose weight and have other health goals? Well, you should still juice lemons for their benefits.
“Lemons also are a good source of potassium..they help in flushing out toxins from the body, and hence in decreasing water retention as well. They’re good for the heart and help in reducing cholesterol levels, improving blood pressure and immunity, giving you a glowing skin as well.”
So, if you’re feeling stressed, dilute a few drops of lemon essential oil and massage it on your body.
Or you could smell the fragrance of the king of lemons—Bengal’s Gondhoraj lebu.
Often mistaken with its more popular cousin, Kaffir lime, Gondhoraj likes to rule from behind the curtains. One without an English name or a dedicated Wikipedia profile, this bright green oblong lime, also known as the Rangpur lime, originates in Sylhet and Chittagong in Bangladesh.
But this culinary love affair with Gondhoraj comes to an end once you cross the borders of Bengal! Because the King of lemons is indeed true to its soil, refusing to grow in any place other than Bengal.
So when life gives you lemons, stock up on them—add them to salads or infuse them in water overnight, include them in your beauty routine or scrub grimy dishes or surfaces, use as a humidifier or add with the whites in your laundry.
And when you’re done squeezing the juice and grating the zest, don’t throw away the peels. Use them to make natural cleaners for your home. Stuff that’s good for you and the environment.
In episode 12 of Bite On This, you’ll hear about these and some less known uses of lemons.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)