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the miracle of lemons

THE MIRACLE OF LEMONS, by Dr Penny Stanway, explains how lemons can aid health, home and beauty. It also has a chapter of original recipes, each containing lemon juice and/or lemon zest.


It's available as a book and an ebook


Lemons are the lovely bright fruit of the lemon tree. They offer a tart and flavourful source of fibre plus vitamin C and other nutrients. They also provide a wealth of other health-promoting substances, some of which occur in such riches in only a few other foods.


A lemon’s ‘4 Ps’

A lemon has three layers, the peel (which cooks call the zest and botanists the exocarp, epicarp or flavedo), pith (mesocarp or albedo) and pulp (endocarp or flesh). It also has pips, which are in its pulp:

  • Peel - the tough, shiny, textured, vibrant yellow (or green) outer layer. Depending on the variety of lemon and the growing conditions, the peel’s thickness varies from a thin 1-2 mm (1/16 - 2/16 in) to a thick 20 mm (¾ in). Cellulose fibre makes up 30 per cent of the peel. Its other constituents include waxes, organic acids, carotenoid pigments and lemon oil. Tiny oil glands open via pores on to the surface of the peel.

  • Pith – the soft, spongy, white lining of the peel. It’s mainly composed of fibre but also contains small amounts of antioxidants (such as phenolic compounds and limonin) and other substances.

  • Pulp – the inside of the lemon, separated by fibrous membranes into eight to ten segments, each containing tiny ovoid sacs (vesicles) filled with pale yellow juice. This juice forms 20 – 25 percent of the weight of a ripe lemon and contains 90 percent of its vitamin C, as well as small amounts of other antioxidants, plus various vitamins, minerals and organic acids, and lemon oil.

  • Pips – the bitter, whitish seeds in the pulp of most lemons. Their contents include salicylic-acid salts (as in aspirin), limonin and a little lemon oil.


Lemons contain many health-promoting and otherwise useful substances, including nutrients, fibre, phenolic compounds, plant pigments, limonene, organic acids and limonoids.

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