Kids Club Vol. 40: Lemons
Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!
This month, we’re thinking about lemons. From their brightly fragrant zest to their tart juice, these bright yellow citrus fruits add so much flavor to food. Drop a wedge of lemon into a glass of water and you’ll know what we mean—something plain is transformed into something tangy and aromatic. You might not reach for one if you were hungry, but you would if you wanted to add tons of flavor to sweets, drinks, dips, salads, soups, and just about anything else you’d want to eat. Inside, you’ll find lemony recipes, activities, fun facts, and more.
We hope you enjoy this ray of sunshine!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Measuring cup
- Medium Bowl
- Wooden spoon
- 6 glasses
- 1 lemon, scrubbed
- 1 1⁄2 cups fresh (or thawed unsweetened frozen) raspberries
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- Pinch kosher salt
- 6 cups cold water
- Ice cubes
- Cut the lemon in half lengthwise from end to end. Put each half cut side down on the cutting board, then cut each half into thin slices.
- Put the lemon slices, raspberries, honey, and salt in the bowl and use the wooden spoon to mash them really hard until the lemons and raspberries give up their juice and it mixes with the honey, about 2 minutes.
- You can keep the solids in your lemonade or, if you like, strain them out: Put the strainer over the pitcher, pour in the lemon mixture, and use the wooden spoon to mash it and release as much liquid as possible. Throw away or compost the solids.
- Add the water, stir to blend, and pour the lemonade into ice-filled glasses.
How to Juice a Lemon
- Put the lemon on the countertop and press down on it with the palm of your hand. While you press, roll it back and forth a couple of times. This squishes the inside of the lemon a little bit to help the juice come out.
- Cut the lemon right through the center (where the equator would be if the fruit were Earth) into two halves.
- Working with one half at a time, stick a fork into the cut side and hold the lemon over a bowl. Squeeze it and wiggle the fork back and forth to extract the juice. Squeeze hard to get every last drop! Then juice the other half. You might have to pick out some seeds from your bowl of juice.
To learn how the different parts of a lemon taste, begin by scrubbing a lemon all over with a clean sponge, then rinse it under running water and dry it.
- To taste the zest—the colored part of the peel—use a vegetable peeler (or your thumbnail) to sliver off a strip. Now pinch it and smell it. How does it smell? Nibble a little bite of it. How does it taste?
- Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of its juice into a glass. Smell the juice. Does it smell like the zest? How so or how not? Take a sip. What does it taste like? Is it sweet? Sour? Bitter? A combination?
- Which would you describe as more “lemony”—the zest or the juice? When might you use the zest, the juice, or a combination?
Thanks to their high vitamin-C content, lemons were used in the 18th century to treat scurvy—a disease sailors suffered at sea from not getting enough of that important nutrient.
Kitchen Science: Invisible Ink
Lemon juice, which is nearly clear, turns brown when you heat it. To test this out, try squeezing a little lemon into a dish, then use a Q-tip or a paint brush to write a message on white paper. Let it dry completely, until your message disappears. Ready to reveal it? Just stick the paper in the hot sun or next to a hot light bulb (be careful not to burn yourself ) and watch your words appear.
Why? The simple answer is chemistry. Even though it doesn’t taste sweet, lemon juice contains sugar, which are carbon compounds. You can’t see these compounds at room temperature, but heat releases the carbon. When carbon comes in contact with air, it turns brown.
Lemons by the Numbers
• In 2018, over 40 billion pounds of lemon and limes were produced around the world.
• The Guinness World Record for heaviest lemon belongs to a nearly 12-pound lemon grown by Aharon Shemoel in Israel.
• A lemon tree can produce up to 600 pounds of fruit in a year.