Lemons & Limes (Citrons/Citrons vert)

Random facts about lemons in France plus links to easy, healthy recipes (mainly French) using lemon or lime.

In Season

Available all year round but high seasons in France are November-December and February-September.
Autumn; Winter; Spring; Summer.

Fun French Expression

“Tiens moi au jus”
Familiar French expression meaning “Keep me informed” (literally translated as Keep me in the juice).

Random Facts About Lemons & Limes in France

  • In the Mediterranean south where lemon trees prefer the hotter climate, lemon trees can flower 3-4 times a year, so harvesting can happen throughout the year;
  • France is famous for its lemons from Menton on the Côte d’Azur. Les citrons de Menton have been cultivated since the 15th Century and today are considered a gastronomic speciality;
  • At the end of each winter in February, Menton holds its famous lemon festival or Carnaval de Menton;
  • According to Aprifel France, good source of vitamin C and B9, especially in the winter months. Lemons also help clean the liver – so drink fresh lemon juice with some water every morning for a Spring detox;
  • Lemons and limes contain a high amount of pectin, which is why lemon juice is generally used as a natural thickener in jam-making (see my recipe for spiced plum jam or apricot jam);
  • To choose good lemons or limes, pick a heavy fruit with fine skin.
  • When using the zest, always pick organic (bio in France) and unwaxed.
  • Can’t find unwaxed? Clean off wax from lemons with a scrubbing brush in a basin of hot water.
  • To grate lemon zest, grate the yellow or green parts of the skin only and avoid grating the white pith underneath, as this part is bitter;
  • Excellent in savoury dishes too. We love it in:
    – the French classic veal stew, Blanquette de Veau; 
    lemon sauce to serve with roast chicken (poulet rôti);
    – as a hint in these white asparagus & lemon clafoutis;
    – in a creamy pasta lemon sauce;

Lemon or Lime Recipes

Creamy Lemon Ice Cream

From the kitchen