I like many, love a good cup of lemonade – freshly squeezed lemons of course. The tartness and flavor of the lemon, mixed with some sugar ad water, simple and comforting. At times I thought wouldn’t it be nice if we could peel and eat a lemon just like an orange. Enjoy that same flavor without the added sugar. When I learned about the miracle berry, which changes what you eat from sour to sweet – I thought there was my chance to eat a lemon. You can even buy the berry now in tablet form. That is until I discovered there was such a thing as lemon, sweet enough to eat on it’s own. Who needs to pay $25 for 10 tablets, when I can just buy this lemon. Only problem was now I had to actually find this lemon. It took a year, but finally, last month I found my first ever “lemonade lemon” at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What is the Lemonade Lemon?
The lemonade lemon also called simply the lemonade fruit or some call it the “Unlemon” lemon is a cross between a lemon and a Navel orange or a mandarin. I found websites saying one, and some saying the other. I feel like it’s with a mandarin just because of the way the skin feels and that you can peel like a mandarin, although I think slicing them into wedges is more effective. The Lemonade lemon originated in Australia, but has made it’s way to the United States. It is now being grown by Ripe to You, a marketing name for Rising C Ranches located in the rich San Joaquin Valley of central California. They are one of my absolutely favorite citrus growers. They have introduced me to so many varieties of citrus – Heirloom Navels, Variegated pink lemons, Shasta Gold mandarins, Yukon Gold mandarins, Tahoe Gold mandarins, etc. I love all the variety they sell and the quality is top of the line for the industry. I feel confident when I see one of their sticks on a piece of fruit that I am going to get the very best. The Lemonade lemon is no exception.
My Thoughts on the Fruit
I asked them over a year ago about the lemon. My concern was there were going to be like sweet limes, which a yellow lime variety that has no acidity and is really bland yet somehow refreshing. I was reassured that these lemons were not like that. I had no problem just biting into my first slice, knowing that I wasn’t going to experience lip puckering or remarkable blandness. And sure enough I easily could eat them. Tastes like lemonade. Still tart but with enough sweetness to make them palpable. They do contains seeds but the seeds are pretty easy to manage and they are too numerous. I found some segments to have membranes that were a bit tough, which I why I recommend slicing into wedge and sucking out the juice.
Uses for the Lemonade Lemon
You can enjoy them right out of your hand. It’s fun to have at a get together, see which of your guests willingly to try them out and not think you are trying to pull a fast one on them – like giving them unsweetened chocolate. They have many great uses as well. I have used them to keep apples from browning. What I like is because they had sweetness in them, they don’t cause the apples to have a sour taste to them. Also works for keeping guacamole greener, with again not having to add too much sour taste. For leftover guac, squeeze the juice on top without mixing it, cover, and refrigerate. Mix it in when you are ready to serve. Of course you can try making lemonade with them with way less sugar. I haven’t tried yet, but I can imagine how good it would be on top of some fish! Don’t forget to use the zest too.
Season for Lemonade Lemons
In the US, except them to be available starting in January, and lastly through the winter months. They are a newer commercial crop, so they probably will be hard to come by. If they catch on, except to see more. Whole Foods is the first place I saw them. I heard they have been available at farmer’s markets in California. Check any store wherever you see Ripe to You citrus. Ask the store’s produce manager or buyer. If they don’t know, you can get them into the know, maybe even direct them to this blog post (cheap plug!)