The lemon has been a brightening force of color, aroma, flavor and healing for thousands of years.

The lemon’s origin isn’t confirmed, but it’s thought to be northwestern India, where lemons have been cultivated for 2,500 years. Early on, they were used ornamentally and medicinally as a poison antidote and to treat everything from cold and flu to upset stomach.

Rare and expensive, lemons were once reserved for the elite. Brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus, they still famously grow in California and Florida. Fortunately, lemons are prolific these days, delighting the culinary senses, along with a powerful nutritious punch.

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