Home » an ally of cooking and well-being, it is among the most loved citrus fruits

an ally of cooking and well-being, it is among the most loved citrus fruits

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an ally of cooking and well-being, it is among the most loved citrus fruits

Happiness within reach has a name: lemon and its juice. Loved for its countless beneficial properties and versatility, lemon juice represents the key to happiness and good mood for over 1 in 2 Italians. Its scent makes you happy because it gives lightness and freshness (36.3%), puts you in a good mood because it relieves stress (33.1%) and its aroma is able to make the mind travel, taking it back to summer (52 ,8%). A confirmation, that of the beneficial properties of the citrus fruit, which also comes from science: according to numerous studies, in fact, the regular and abundant intake of lemon juice (and lemon) can promote high levels of optimism and self-esteem, as well as reduce the stress level. Not just good mood: lemon juice is a precious ally in the kitchen for almost all Italians (97.8%) and for “do-it-yourself” well-being (33.6%), qualities that 70% choose it % of Italians, symbol of Italy. A pride that also orients the purchasing choice towards a 100% Italian product (42%), green and ethical (39.7%) with attention to fruit varieties such as Femminello Siracusano (30%).

INSIGHTS

This is the photograph taken by unpublished research by AstraRicerche for Polenghi Food – an Italian family company that is the market leader in Europe for high-quality lemon juices and exports to over 70 countries for a turnover of around 100 million euros. (2023) – with the aim of investigating curiosities and trends of the citrus fruit, whose countless uses, thousand-year history, consumption habits and beneficial properties represent a treasure chest of curiosities, often unknown.

«The investigation shows how lemon and its juice are a central element of Italy, of the table of fellow countrymen and of their habits. Its history, its versatility and its numerous benefits are in fact loved by almost all Italians, who also value the importance of the origin of the fruit and the supply chain. A passion for citrus fruit also shared by Polenghi, who strives every day to bring a quality product that respects the environment and the territory, with the ambition of promoting sustainable and ethical development. A commitment that finds concreteness both in the Polenghi-Spinagallo organic lemon juice, produced from the prestigious Femminello Siracusano lemons in an integrated ethical and sustainable supply chain, and in the long history of the company, made up of 40 years of efforts to celebrate all the good of the lemon, whose juice is a priceless treasure capable of adapting to every need” says Filippo Scandellari, CEO of Polenghi Food.

“LI MUM”, THE ETERNAL FLOWER, THE SEVEN VARIETIES AND UNUSUAL SUPER POWERS: THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT LEMON

If the healthy characteristics of the lemon and its juice are known, not everyone knows that the lemon is able to flower all year round, that Italy holds the European record for the number of varieties or its origin: here are the things what you didn’t know about the lemon, a journey through the curiosities and most unusual details of the citrus fruit, symbol of Italy.

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The lemon was born between Indochina and India and was brought to Italy by the Arabs. In fact, the lemon arrived in Sicily from the East thanks to the Arabs, hence the name “li mum”, and it was on the island and in Italy that it found the ideal place to grow.

Italy holds the record for lemon varieties with seven PGI lemons and Sicily is the most productive lemon-growing region in all of Europe. A pride also shared by many compatriots who declare the variety of the fruit such as the Femminello Siracusano to be fundamental when choosing to purchase a lemon-based product (juice or fruit).

The lemon, specifically the Femminello Siracusano PGI variety, is able to flower all year round.

Among the seven varieties – Costa d’Amalfi IGP, Interdonato Messina IGP, Femminello del Gargano IGP, Sorrento IGP, Etna IGP, Rocca Imperiale IGP – the Femminello is available on the trees all year round, presenting four blooms , a characteristic that makes it the juiciest and most versatile variety in Italy.

Lemon juice is a powerful preservative, fortifier and thickener. Thanks to its natural acidity it is able to slow down the natural maturation process of the products. Also an excellent remedy for obtaining a compact, dense and shiny jam and for strengthening some foods such as egg shells, which are often subject to breakage during cooking. Characteristics also much loved by over half of Italians (54.3%), who declare that they use and appreciate these “super powers” of lemon juice.

The lemon fruit contains up to 12 seeds. The intruders, often annoying, seem to push up the preferences for the juice appreciated by over 1 compatriot in 3 (36.8%), also chosen because it can be kept for longer while preserving its properties (34.2%), it is anti- waste (30.1%) and more convenient as one pack contains the juice of several lemons (22.3%).

Lemon and its juice are an excellent pesticide. Both for use in botany, preventing the infestation of parasites, and as a repellent of various insects; it is a remedy also appreciated by Italians, who use it as an ecological spray against mosquitoes or ants (16.4%).

Rice cooked to perfection with lemon juice. Boiling rice may seem like a simple task, but when it sticks to the bottom of the pan, the meal is ruined. To avoid this unpleasant inconvenience, just add some lemon juice during cooking.

PASSION LEMON JUICE: CONSUMPTION INCREASES AS AGE GROWS. IT IS KING OF COOKING, WELL-BEING AND HOME

The citrus fruit, in addition to containing countless curiosities, is one of the most purchased products by Italian families (92.4%), who enhance its juice (purchased by over 80% of the sample) in numerous ways. From marinades to the use of juice for desserts, the lemon is elected king of the kitchen by almost all Italians, an essential ingredient of many preparations which see lemon chicken (48.6%) excel on the tables of their compatriots, followed by sorbet (45.2%), from fish glazed with lemon (43.2%), from grandmother’s cake (35.9%) and from lemon ice cream (34.2%), a panacea during the summer. Not only the protagonist of the kitchen but also of health: if 1 in 3 Italians uses it as a “do it yourself” remedy for daily well-being, over half of the sample declares that they use it as a thirst quencher (56.6%), with water and ginger among the most popular drinks (27%). A habit, that of consuming lemon juice as a thirst quencher, which grows with increasing age. Its soothing properties against sore throats (40.4%), for correct digestion (31.3%), as an antibacterial (31.2%) but also for household cleaning are also highly appreciated. In fact, there are many uses of the juice in the home world, first and foremost as a degreaser (50.5%), deodorant (45.1%), polishing of surfaces, metals or fabrics (30.2%).

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LEMON, A FRUIT WITH UNDERESTIMATED PROPERTIES: A WORD FROM THE EXPERT

Lemon and its juice are an ally of good mood, but what makes it so unique for well-being? “The real health benefits of lemon derive from active ingredients other than caloric macronutrients and fibre. The best known to all is vitamin C. This very important molecule is used for the synthesis of collagen, a substance responsible for making up a large part of the connective tissue of the skin and organs. In fact, collagen provides correct protection due to the vasodilation effects of the sun and heat on the veins of the legs. Furthermore, thanks to vitamin C, lemon is a powerful antioxidant and acts by cushioning the negative effects of free radicals, as a preventive against the appearance of some forms of cancer, it exerts a powerful anti-aging action and supports the immune system” states Luca Piretta, nutritionist and gastroenterologist at the Campus Biomedico University of Rome.

Professor Piretta also recalls the importance of lemon for a healthy diet, especially for people suffering from anemia, and as a tool for preventing various pathologies: “another peculiarity of vitamin C is that it promotes the absorption of iron ; therefore, it is very important to recommend the use of lemons to anemic people. It can be useful to squeeze it onto meat and fish because of this reducing action it becomes much more bioavailable and therefore better exploitable by the body. The presence of citric acid in lemon helps prevent the appearance of kidney stones, alkalinizing the urine and thus preventing the crystallization of oxosalates, the salts that prevent the absorption of numerous mineral salts. Furthermore, lemon contains a large quantity of other bioactive molecules that are very useful for health such as polyphenols, flavonoids, aromatic oils and volatile compounds which have been shown to carry out significant antioxidant and protective actions. Many scientific studies have demonstrated, in fact, the importance in the prevention of diseases thanks to all these substances contained in lemon when used in a correct diet”.

Heart, intestine, diabetes and anti-inflammatory action, the importance of the mineral salts present in the citrus fruit and its juice are often underestimated but essential: “the presence of mineral salts such as potassium is also not negligible (useful for the transmission of nervous impulses, to muscle and cardiac contraction, to maintain acid-base balance and to allow stomach acid secretion), calcium and phosphorus (necessary to help bone metabolism, to allow the transmission of cellular information and the transport of power). Instead, thanks to the polyphenols and flavonoids present, it helps to improve the body’s lipid and glycemic profiles, to lower inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, and to positively modify the composition of the intestinal microbiota” concludes Professor Piretta.

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FROM THE FIELD TO THE SHELVES: FEMMINELLO SIRACUSANO READY TO USE WITH POLENGHI ORGANIC LEMON JUICE – SPINAGALLO PRODUCED IN AN ETHICAL AND ARE FRIENDLY SUPPLY CHAIN

Polenghi Food, through concrete commitments, pays great attention to projects aimed at sustainable development. In fact, the Company, aware of the importance of creating value along the entire production chain, implements actions dedicated to reducing environmental impact, with the ambitious objective of also protecting the territory by enhancing its uniqueness. It is precisely from this desire that Fondo Spinagallo organic lemon juice was born, produced in a totally ethical and sustainable supply chain thanks to the agreement of Polenghi (bottler), Campisi (grower) and Simone Gatto (squeezer). The juice is squeezed exclusively from the lemons of Fondo Spinagallo in Syracuse, Sicily, in a plot of land where the meeting of the sea and volcanic winds creates the perfect microclimate for the cultivation of Femminello Siracusano, one of the most prized in the world and “member” of the 7 Italian PGIs. All the agriculture in the Spinagallo Fund is organic, the lemons are native and squeezed using “Le Birillatrici”, ancient Sicilian tools that squeeze the juice only from the endocarp and not from the peel, protecting its original structure. The cultivation is entrusted to Campisi Italia, which for over four generations has handed down a school of artisanal pruning, keeping all the secrets of hand-picking the fruit.

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