Lemon yellow, or rather green


Italian lemons are green in summer. The yellow ones, on the other hand, are imported. Here’s what to check on the label

Yellow in winter, green in summer. Lemons in Italy also change color during the warm season. Sicilian verdello-a citrus fruit harvested from July to September-is characterized by its strong flavor, even in its juice. As well as for the richness of essential oils and terpenes.

Watch out for the label

Yellow lemons for sale in summer in Italy Are generally imported from abroad. Just look at the label, or the sales sign for bulk fruit, which must always report the country of origin.

Too bad only that to this day many vendors-in local markets as well as supermarkets-continue to violate consumer information rules. Omitting, or falsifying, indications of origin.

Instead, the citrus label must always include a number of mandatory information items. The origin first of all, as well as the category (more valuable from the first onward), the size of the fruit and the edibility of the rind.

Outside of organic products-in which the peel is always edible-it is indeed increasingly common to use fungicides and pesticides (thiabenzadol and imazalil) that render the peel of ‘conventional’ lemons inedible. In that it has been treated, precisely, with chemicals to extend its shelf life.

Therefore, look out for the‘inedible peelwarning on the label of packaged fruit, usually in a net. As for citrus fruits sold in bulk at local markets or in the fruit and vegetable departments of supermarkets, the warning is definitely on the transport box, and should be reproduced on the sales sign. Therefore, even more attention is needed.

A lemon for every season

Also dedicated to reminding us that lemons are green in summer is Oranfrizer, which has been growing citrus in Sicily for more than 50 years and offers its Sicilian greens in an ad hoc package, with tricolor, nutritional chart, claim about the vitamin C found in the citrus fruit, and recipes (which can be made thanks to the edible peel).

Verdelli are ‘highly prized lemons, grown under strict standards imposed’ by the Italian legislature, even before Europe. To limit or ban the use of many agrotoxics instead allowed in other countries, from which imports of yellow lemons unfortunately continue.

Yellow lemons
Made in Italy
however, will not be ready until November, when they reach maturity just as new orange blossoms bloom.

Indeed, the magic of the lemon lies in the nonstop fruiting and the co-presence on the same branch of ripe fruit and new flowers. Unique among citrus fruits, it gives four harvests a year, cadenced as follows

– the first-flowering lemon is harvested from October to January,

– the winter lemon from January to April,

– the white lemon from April to June,

– the
green lemon
June through September.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".