There are plenty of uses for lemons, limes in your cooking


What about the yellow and green fruit? Let's take a look at what this fruit is all about.

The size and acidity of lemons differ according to the variety and the thickness of the yellow peel. Also, the number of seeds contained in the juicy flesh varies. The lime has a thin skin covering and juicy pulp that is very acidic in taste. Lemons and limes have basically the same uses in most recipes. The lime goes well in main dishes as well as in soups, sauces, vinaigrettes, cakes, ice cream and sorbets also, enhancing the flavor of poultry, fish, beans and vegetable soups. The lemon adds zest to soups and sauces, vegetables, cakes, custards, ice creams and sorbets and is used in the making of marmalade and jelly. Lemon juice may replace vinegar in dressings and is used to marinate and tenderize meat, poultry, fish and game.

Now, let's look at the nutritional profile of this fruit. These tart, flavorful fruits contain some potassium and are high in vitamin C. Just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice provide a little more than 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Lime juice contains less vitamin C than lemon juice, with 2 tablespoons providing just 10 percent of the RDA. Along with supplying substantial amounts of vitamin C, the health benefits of these fruits also rest in their fiber and phytochemicals.

The peels of lemons and limes are rich in limonene phytochemicals, which seep into the juice and may confer anticancer benefits, possibly by blocking abnormal cell growth and detoxifying cancer promoters.

As you shop the market, there are two basic types of lemons and limes - acidic and sweet - but only acidic types are grown commercially. The sweet types are grown by home gardeners as ornamental fruits. Although there are some specialty lemons and limes that are identified in the marketplace (for example, key limes or meyer lemons), the rest of the lemons and limes sold do not specify variety - even though there are some varietal differences in size, shape and thickness of peel, though not in flavor.

Types of lemons and limes are:

Kaffir lime - have very little juice and bitter. They are used in Thai cooking.

Key limes - they are best known as an ingredient in key lime pie; also have a higher acid content.

Lemons - the most common everyday lemons are either Eureka or Lisbons, though the market doesn't normally label its lemons as anything but "lemons." Eureka lemons are distinguished by a short neck at the stem end; Lisbons have no distinct neck, but the blossom end tapers to a pointed nipple. Eurekas may have a few seeds, and Lisbons are commonly seedless, with smoother skin.

Limequats - this is a cross between limes and kumquats. They are small, round and yellowish with an acidic lime flavor.

Meyer lemons - this fruit is a cross between a lemon and either on orange or a mandarin.

Rangpur limes - this tart, acidic and very juicy fruit resembles oranges or tangerines (their flesh is decidedly orange). They are a cross probably between a lemon and a mandarin orange.

Tahiti limes - most of the limes in the supermarket are Tahitian, which comes in two similar varieties: Persian limes and Bearss. Both of these limes are greenish-yellow when fully mature but are sold at their earlier deep-green stage for better flavor.

Recipes often call for lemon or lime zest - the flavorful colored part of the peel. To have lemon or lime zest on hand, save the shells after squeezing fresh lemon juice, then wrap and freeze the shells. Grate zest as you need it from the frozen shells.

A large lemon will yield about 3 to 4 tablespoons of juice and 2 to 3 teaspoons of zest; a large lime will provide 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice and 1 to 2 teaspoons of zest.