If you thought that lemons were only good for ‘pancake Day’ you’re sorely mistaken. The juice of the lemon is a staple ingredient in many sauces and dishes which originate in southern Europe and Africa. Lemon squeezed on to pork chops, mixed into salad dressings and used as a ‘cure for the cold’ are just a few of its uses.


Every Greek garden has a lemon tree

If anyone reading this has holidayed in Greece you’ll know that every garden has a lemon tree. In fact it is not at all unusual to see lemon trees growing wild, the fruit hanging off those trees appearing to be fatter, juicier and more succulent than that growing on a cultivated tree. From Greece in the east to Portugal in the west and all points in between, the lemon reigns supreme.

Lemons are a staple of the southern Mediterranean and North African diet; the juice is a main ingredient in many sauces and accompaniments to meals. But the fruit of lemon trees is also an amazing cleaning agent, and is ideal for cleaning glass without leaving smears. It is also very effective for cleaning the grill of a barbecue prior to and after use.

Place the barbecue grill over the heat for a few minutes, take half a lemon and rub the lemon over the grill, taking care not to burn your fingers. The lemon acts as a cleaning agent and every Greek man or woman will clean their barbecue in this way before throwing on the steak, chops or fish to cook. As well as cleaning the grill it also helps kill a few bugs too.

Olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixed together in a pot is ideal for dipping bread or other meal accompaniment, and is an ideal appetizer. Pluck a lemon taken straight from the tree and cut it in half and add a squeeze of lemon juice to the mix; from your taste buds will sing.

If you want to cut down on your sugar intake but cannot bear the thought of a cup of tea without sugar, try it with a slice of lemon. You may not think it will taste good but it is a remarkable taste. Pretty soon, you’ll wonder just why you spent so many years taking sugar when you could have had lemon.

Squeeze a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice into a glass of water, add a little ice and stir and ‘voila’, a simple refreshing drink with far less sugar than an average cordial drink a jug of lemon water kept in the fridge on sunny summer days will quench your thirst like nothing else can.

Add an exotic feature to your garden

Planting a lemon tree in your garden or a small version in a large pot, it adds a little of the exotic to a plain garden. On the other hand, if you’re trying to create a low maintenance southern European garden, a lemon tree, lime tree, a few palm plants are necessary elements for an authentic look.

Now, what are you waiting for; experience the fruit of the lemon tree for real today.

Graham Green is a freelance writer, blogger and researcher. Having lived in Greece for many years, he understands the attraction of a low maintenance, southern Mediterranean garden plot filled with palm plants, lemon trees and shady nooks.