Fruit of the month: Lemons

Editor: This is the second post to mark National Nutrition Month with the help of Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez, McLennan County Extension agent.

By Paula Solano

Hello, March! In just a few short months we have experienced what seems like ALL of the seasons. The image selected seemed fitting given the lemons we seem to have been given in 2021. In February, I observed our community coming together in a time of need. Neighbors helping neighbors, warming centers and water filling stations. Freezing temperatures brought people together — a moment in time we will not soon forget. 

Photo by Suhairy Tri Yadhi from Pexels

During my time as an intern at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, I have gained increased understanding related to nutrition and physical activity. One of the highlights of my time is learning best practices from the knowledgeable staff. I’ve learned that living with a chronic disease is about lifestyle changes and awareness. 

The seasonal fruit for this week’s Better Living for Texans blog is the lemon. While lemons are in season year-round, they are most flavorful and available in abundance during the winter. Lemons cultivate best in warm environments, such as California and Florida. 

Lemons have a presence in various ethnic cuisines, including Asian / Southeast Asian (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) / African Cuban, Latino / Mediterranean / Mexican / Puerto Rican.

Nutritional Facts and Health Claims

While various factors affect heart disease, hypertension, and other chronic diseases, a diet low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars may lessen the risk of disease. Lemons are packed with flavor while also being fat free, saturated fat free, sodium free, low in calories, and high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C, assists in protecting cells against free radical damage, helps one maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and one’s immune system, and supports the body absorbing iron from plant sources. 

Shopping, Storage, and How to Cut: 

Selecting

Select bright yellow lemons, firm to the touch. Heavier lemons traditionally contain more juice and flavor compared to light and airy lemons. Lemons with thin skin traditionally have more juice. Avoid lemons that are soft to the touch, with spongy, wrinkled, rough, bumpy, or with hard skin. 

Storage

Lemons store in room temperature for up to 2 weeks. When stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, they may last up to 6 weeks. 

How to Cut

To avoid transferring dirt and bacteria to the fruit’s interior, wash the surface of the lemon. 

Get the Facts!

Wash your hands as recommended by the CDC, and clean contact surfaces often. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate provides recipes, tips and resources to guide you in creating a healthy eating plan. Start simple, download the MyPlate App, an easy-to-use app that will help guide you and track your progress.

Use:

Lemons provide an extra zip of flavor, used in salsas, as a marinade in baked vegetables and meats, salads, or drinks. 

Below are two lemon recipes from MyPlate:

The first recipe is Baked Lemon Chicken  and the second is an Easy No-Cook Salsa.

Visit MyPlate for recipes and MyPlate resources. 

Share your favorite recipe with us!

Enjoy!

Paula Solano is a Master in Public Health student at Baylor University, certified Community Health Worker (CHW), presently an intern at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A Waco native, who is passionate about serving her community particularly underserved and underrepresented citizens. 

Paula Solano is a Master in Public Health student at Baylor University, certified Community Health Worker, an intern at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. A Waco native, she is passionate about serving her community, particularly underserved and underrepresented citizens. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the challenges it poses to communities across Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and many others continue to practice public health recommendations. Whether we are communicating online or face-to-face know that program content will always be research-backed to help individuals navigate decisions for themselves and their families. For information on resources, ideas, and programs for yourself and family visit Texas A&M AgriLife’s HUB

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP. To learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or to apply for benefits, visit www.yourtexasbenefits.com 

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) Your Guide to Masks. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Fruits and Vegetables (2021) Lemon. Retrieved from: https://fruitsandveggies.org/fruits-and-veggies/lemon/ 

MyPlate (2021) Easy No-Cook Salsa. Retrieved from: https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/easy-no-cook-salsa 

MyPlate (2021) Baked Lemon Chicken. Retrieved from: https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/baked-lemon-chicken 

MyPlate (2021) Lemonade. Retrieved from: https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/lemonade 

Utah State University Cooperative Extension (2011) Lemons. Retrieved from: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1182&context=extension_curall 

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