The lemon is a citrus fruit from the same family as the orange, lime, grapefruit and many others. Like other citrus fruits, the lemon grows on a tree of the same name. The fruit is well known for its strong sour taste, caused by a high level of citric acid, and it is used in a number of different culinary situations. The juice is used as a preservative, garnish and as a flavoring for many popular drinks. There are a number of different varieties of lemon, but most people are familiar with the Eureka lemon that is available in most grocery stores. Let’s find out where the lemon come from and where they are grown today.
Where do lemons originate from?
Unlike many other fruits, scientists are unsure about the exact origins of the lemon. The most widely accepted theories are that the lemon was first grown in India, Burma or China. Genetic testing has shown that the lemon is a hybrid of the citron and sour orange.
How did the lemon spread around the world?
Lemons first entered Europe around the 1st century AD, but they were not commonly grown after this time. The fruit was introduced to the Middle East and Egypt around 700 AD and it started to spread throughout Europe and the Arab world around 1000-1150. Lemons were widely grown in Europe by the 15th century and they were introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus and later Spanish explorers.
Where are lemons grown today?
The largest producer of lemons and limes is India, with about 2 million tonnes, closely followed by Mexico. Other important producers include Argentina, Brazil, Spain, China, the United States and Turkey. Smaller quantities of lemons are grown in many other countries and the lemon is now grown on every continent on Earth, except for Antarctica.