Serving up veggies in all of our products!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Lemon and Five Senses

We thought it'd be fun to see how a single ingredient can affect each of the five senses; hearing, smell, sight, touch and taste. 

Let's look at the lemon. Here are some ways that we experience lemons, both directly (when we recognize the lemon's presence) and indirectly (when lemons can change the color or flavor of another food in a covert way that doesn't scream "lemon!")

Lemon and Five Senses

Using a vegetable peeler, remove a wide strip of peel the length of the lemon. Over a lit candle, twist the strip of peel with the yellow side facing the flame. Listen as the oils from the peel crackle and sparkle over the open flame and hear your child squeal with delight as though you just performed a magic trick in the kitchen!

As you peel and twist strips of lemon rind, it smells lemony, yes, but also piney and herbaceous. Meyer lemons have an especially savory aroma of thyme and spice. 

Here's a neat trick. Should you happen to bring home fish from the market that smells a little bit fishy, using lemon juice will cut the fishiness in two ways. First, it will encourage free (unpleasant) aromas to react with water in the fish and then, second, the acid in the lemon juice will work on a chemical level to keep those fishy aromas tied down to the surface of the fish so you won't have to smell them anymore!

Beyond the color of the lemon itself, lemons can dictate the color (or discolor) of many other foods. Squeeze lemon juice on cut pieces of apple and the apple will not brown. Squeeze lemon juice on sauteed asparagus, store the leftovers in the fridge overnight and you'll find that the lemon juice turned your asparagus brown. Make a smoothie with mixed berries and milk and it will be purple, but add lemon juice and watch the color of the smoothie shift from blue-purple to red-purple.

Here's a great trick for getting the most juice out of a lemon. Roll the lemon on the counter, really using your body weight to apply lots of pressure. Feel the juice pockets bursting inside as you liberate the juice within the lemon.

Sour and pallet cleansing, yes, but lemons can also enhance the flavor of other foods without making them taste lemony. Like salt, lemon juice is a natural flavor enhancer; adding lemon to nearly any food will intensify the other flavors in that food. Next time you make a dish that seems to be missing that certain 'something' that you just can't identify, try adding a little lemon juice. This tip is most impactful in dishes that are cooked for a long time, like soups and stews. The acidity brings brightness back to a dish where most of the freshness had boiled away.

What are some of your own clever uses for lemons?

No comments:

Post a Comment