The World of Lemons

From making a blueberry pie, searing a steak or whisking together a quick yoghurt sauce, lemons add an extra zing to every recipe. They also balance out other intense flavours while adding a mouthwatering lift to dishes and are surprisingly found in different textures and sizes.  Here’s a nifty guide to the abundant varieties of lemon cultivated in different citrus growing areas.

  1. Escondido (es-kuhn-dee-doh)

Escondido lemons grown near the escondido river in Nicaragua have very little juice and a deep yellow colour. The slight bitter this variety enriches the taste of drinks like sparkling paloma cocktails and also peps up fish based dishes like a codfish salad. 

  1. Femminello (fem-mi-nell-o)
Femminello

One of the oldest Italian lemons, femminello is used for making essential oils and liqueurs. The tangy and acidic taste of this variety adds an extra zing to lemon pies, lemon curd, pastries, cookies and gelato. 

  1. Génoa (jen-oh-uh)
Génoa Lemons

With origins in Italy, génoa lemons have a smooth skin and a considerable amount of acidic pulp. The juice of these lemons add a tangy flavour to everything from salad dressings and marinades to lemonades and cocktails. The fragrant yellow zest of the lemon can also be used to make lemon oil and is a favourite baking ingredient.

  1. Interdonato (in-ter-do-naa-to)
Interdonato

Interdonato lemons originate in Italy and Turkey, are the earliest grown lemon of any season. A hybrid between a citron (citrus fruit with thick rind) and a local lemon variety called ariddaru, interdonato lemons have high acidity and an abundance of juice, that make it an ideal choice for lemonades and lemon based cocktails.

  1. Kumquat (kuhm-kwot)
Kumquat

Kumquat translating to ‘golden orange’, is a popular lemon variety of Chinese origin and has a sweet rind and a contrasting tart pulp. This sweet-tart citrus flavour makes it perfect for candied kumquats, marmalades and jams. It is also used in preparations of vodka infused kumquats cocktails, cakes, fruit and vegetable salads.

  1. Meyer (mahy-er)
Meyer

A cross between a lemon and a mandarin, meyers are less acidic than normal lemons and have a yellow-orange hue. They are native to China and are mainly grown in garden pots as an ornamental tree. The zest and the juice has a slight herbal and floral undertone that adds a wonderful nuance to any food and includes lemons like desserts, sauces, salads and roasts. 

  1. Otaheite (oh-tuh-hee-tee)

Otaheite or tahitian lime are deep orange in color and are used as a decorative indoor plant. They are a hybrid between a sweet orange and a mandarin. The small, oval fruits are rounded at either ends with a smooth orange rind and sweet, juicy flesh. These are also called ‘mandarin limes’. 

  1. Primofiore (pree-mo-fio)
Primofiore Red Wine

Known for its high acidity and abundance of juice, primofiore (pri-mo-fio) is exclusively cultivated in Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Primofiore is ideal for making sweet and savoury creams as well as sorbets. For making the perfect mix of dry martinis and other dry liqueurs, primofiore lemons are the lemons that are mostly used.

  1. Perrine (pur-ahyn)

A hybrid between a lemon and a lime, perrines have high acidity like traditional lemons and also offer a lime-like tart flavor. They are used for tenderising meats in marinades and also alter the natural flavours of fish and shellfish in ceviche. Perrines are also used in desserts like granita and sorbets.

  1. Ponderosa (pon-der-osa)
Ponderosa

Ponderosa lemons are large sized lemons that are considered to be a novelty. It is a hybrid between a pomelo (pom-uh-loh) and a citron (si-truh n). Even though the ponderosa lemons are grown as ornamental citrus trees in several parts of the world, they are also used for lemon pies because of its flavours and juice.

  1. Villafranca (vee-a-fran-ca)
Villafranca

Villafranca lemons were introduced in Sicily around 1875. this variety of lemon combines characteristics of both Lisbon Lemon and Eureka Lemon. The excellent flavours from the rind makes these lemons perfect for lemon puddings.