Yesterday I was making lemon curd. Extra tart and tangy! It’s rather good I have to say (see photo) and I don’t think it’s going to last very long. If you have ever been to a café with me for a piece of lemon tart you will know my signature question: “How tart is your lemon tart please?” I don’t know why this makes people cringe…. Anyway, all of this curd mania got me thinking about why I LOVE lemons. For starters they are bright and yellow. They feel nice to hold and squeeze 😉 And when you eat them (especially if your lemon curd is as tart and tangy as mine) they make you pull a rather strange face and emit a sound a bit like “dtaaaa!”
Unfortunately I was not able to forage for my lemons which sadly do not grow freely in this part of France but have to be bought in bulk from Lidl (don’t knock it!) There must be a million or so uses of lemons and there will be other blogs I’m sure that have listed them. As I was squeezing my lemons in preparation for my curd making extravaganza, the smell of the lemons in the kitchen and the oil from the lemon rind on my fingers took me back to my studies in aromatherapy and I was reminded of the traditional and ancient practice of expressing lemon essential oil.
The oil is manufactured using a process known as expression. This was traditionally done by hand and involved the flesh being removed from the fruit and the skin being turned inside out and pressed, using something similar to a lemon squeezer, to extract the oil. A natural sponge would be placed underneath the presser to catch the oil and when saturated the sponge would be wrung out. The resulting liquid was then bottled. A time consuming and lengthy process but one that was worth it for the valuable essential oil.
Did you know that it can take a pound of lemons for every drop of essential oil? Something worth remembering when you are thinking about how much to use. A couple of drops of essential oil (literally – one or two) is all it takes for us to benefit from this fabulous fruit.
So here’s to luscious lemons and lovely, cleansing, refreshing lemon oil. A breath of fresh air as we head into the dark evenings of late autumn…
What are your thoughts on lemons and lemon essential oil? What are your favourite uses?