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Seed of the Week: Lemon Tree

More people would probably have recognized the mystery seeds from last week as lemon seeds if I had used this photograph:

lemon-seeds

Lemon trees, Citrus limon, grow where there is little chance of frost.

Here in Phoenix, Arizona they flower from late February to March.

lemon-flower-bee-flying

Honey bees love the flowers.

lemon-bee

The flowers are incredibly fragrant.

lemons- two-green

Right now the tree is loaded with green lemons.  A wise citrus grower once told me that the lemons are often ripe inside before their rinds are fully yellow outside. In any case, the green ones have a pleasant lime-like odor.

lemon-fruit

The fruit will be turning yellow by November. The fruit stays on the tree until after it flowers in March.

As I mentioned in a previous post, citrus trees can produce seeds that are identical to the parent without pollination. You can grow new trees from the seeds.

lemon-leaves

The leaves are simple and oval and stay on the tree throughout the year. In fact, we have used lemon tree leaves for out tree leaf age experiment.

lemon-tree-bark

The bark is gray and relatively smooth.

Lemon trees tend to produce large quantities of fruit. If you grow a lemon tree, it pays to have a lot of recipes at the ready.

One of our favorites comes from my cousin Karen.

Glazed Lemon Bread

  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and  3/4 cups flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk (soy or rice works too)
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Glaze:

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 325 ° F. Grease an 8 by 4 by 2 loaf pan.

In a standard mixing bowl, mix oil and sugar, and then stir in lemon juice. Add eggs one at a time.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Add to oil/lemon mix alternately with milk. Add the lemon rind and mix thoroughly.

Turn out batter into greased loaf pan and bake 45 minutes. Prepare the glaze of lemon and sugar in a small bowl. At 45 minutes, remove the lemon loaf from the oven (it will be hot), and brush or drizzle evenly with the glaze. Return to the 325°F oven for another 5 minutes.

Serve with lovely hot tea with a twist of lemon.

Lemons are also an inexpensive source of mild acid for fun science experiments.

As another science experiment you could test whether you really need to add salt to baked goods. Make one loaf of lemon bread with the salt and one without. See if you notice any differences. (I tend to leave the salt out).

What is your favorite recipe that uses lemons?

2 thoughts on “Seed of the Week: Lemon Tree

  1. Karen

    Oh, I had forgotten all about that recipe! I haven't made it in years!

    My favorite lemon recipe is lemon meringue pie! But maybe I'll need to make some bread instead!

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