You didn't think we'd leave you without another flavor post, did you? This week is all about lemon -- how to use it, when to use it, and why to use it. Adding lemon to your food is an excellent way to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right, and Nutrition Month isn't over yet! To catch up on the other amazing flavor posts (with their free handouts) check out the links below...
Today's Featured Flavor: Lemons
So, let's talk about lemons.
Lemons are tart, bright, and add pizzaz to just about any dish. They can be used in both savory and sweet foods, and they're one of the most versatile flavoring agents around. Perfect for a flavor post or two, don't you think?
There are so many ways to use lemons when you cook, and a lot of this flavorful fruit's versatility comes from the different parts of the lemon. While few people would enjoy a slice of lemon as a snack, its brightness and intense tang make lemon a perfect flavor booster. You can use just the juice, or just the zest (the thin skin of the lemon, not the white pith). Of course, there are tons of ways to use whole lemons too. When you have these 3 amazing options -- juice, zest, and fruit -- there's no limit to the ways that you can use lemons when you cook.
Lemons and Your Health:
It's a good thing that lemons are so delicious, because they're packed with health benefits. Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, and protects blood vessels.
Of course, vitamin C isn't the only helpful nutrient in lemons. There's also limonin, a cancer-fighting element that appears to reduce the risk of breast, colon, lung, and skin cancer. According to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) "limonoids [have] been shown to help fight various forms of cancer. ARS scientists were the first to show that every time we bite into a citrus slice or drink a glass of orange juice, we can readily access a limonoid called 'limonin.'"
Lemons also contain potassium, which is key to helping your heart and nervous system work the way they should. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that most people don't consume enough potassium each day. It is now considered a nutrient of concern in the American diet.
Lemons as Flavor Boosters:
Their juice brightens up salad dressings and adds an extra zip of flavor to roasted vegetables. Their zest adds depth to fruit salads and baked breakfast treats, and slices of the whole fruit are perfect for cooking in foil packets with fish. Whole preserved lemons are also amazing, especially in Moroccan cuisine. Check out some of our favorite lemon recipes and feel free to tweet us any amazing lemon suggestions @foodhealth!
- Butternut Squash Medallions with Lemon and Pepper
- Double Lemon Cheesecake
- Greek Salad
- Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
- Lemon Couscous Salad
- Lemon Glazed Fruit
- Lentil Salad
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad with Lemon Mint Dressing
- Rosemary Lemon Tea
- Summertime Chicken Salad
- Vegetables with Lemon Cucumber Dill Dip
- Wedding Cake Cookies with Lemon
Remember, there's always more in the Nutrition Education Store! Check out the materials that are topping our sales charts this March...
And if you've made it this far, congratulations! Here's your copy of the free lemon handout, which outlines a great way to use several parts of a lemon in a healthful and delicious fruit salad. Download it today!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.