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All About...




Lemons 101 Recipe

Nutrition: One cup of lemon juice contains 61 calories (less than 4 calories per tablespoon) and no fat. The average whole lemon contains about 17 calories and yields 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice. The juice is 5 to 6 percent citric acid. Lemons are extremely high in vitamin C and also are a good source for vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and copper.

Selection: Choose firm, relatively smooth fruit that seems heavy for its size. The skin should have a fine grain and bright yellow color. (Streaks of green usually indicate more acidity.) Avoid lemons that feel soft or spongy with skin that looks or feels wrinkled, bumpy, rough or hard. Coarse, thick-skinned lemons and lemons that feel relatively light for their size contain less juice.

Storage: Commercially, lemons are usually picked when still green and artificially ripened. They can be kept indoors at room temperature for about a week before they tend to become soft or wrinkled. For longer storage, wrap lemons in paper towels, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Wrapped, refrigerated lemons will keep at least three months.

Freeze it: Instead of keeping whole lemons, freeze the juice. Squeeze lemons, pour juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the juice is frozen solid, transfer the lemon cubes into a freezer bag, where they will keep for several months. Each cube equals the juice of one medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons (a perfect amount for use in many recipes). Lemons may also be frozen whole and juiced (after thawing).

Maximize juice: To get the most juice out of a lemon, warm it up. Before cutting, roll the fruit between your palms or on a hard surface such as the kitchen countertop. Or pierce the lemon with a fork and zap it in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. If working with a lot of lemons, put them in a colander and pour boiling water over the fruit. Let drain, then juice. Or plunge the whole lemons into boiling water; parboil for 2 minutes and drain.

Keep zest, too: Adding grated zest – the outer skin on the rind – increases the intensity of lemon flavor in baked goods and many other recipes. The zest also can be frozen for future use. Grate the zest, spread on waxed or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the zest to a zippered plastic bag and store in freezer for later use.

Lemon up your salad: Substitute lemon juice for vinegar in your favorite vinaigrette. The lemongrette salad dressing will instantly have more nutrition as well as a refreshing citrus flavor and scent.

More lemony ideas: Sunkist Growers offers a wealth of lemon recipes as well as household and beauty tips using lemons. Find them at

Provided by the Sacramento Bee: 



Persimmons in Spiced Syrah Syrup


 Persimmons in Spiced Syrah Syrup


  • 1 cup Syrah Wine
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 1-inch Piece Vanilla Bean
  • 2 Slices Lemon, Seeded
  • 3 Ripe Fuyu Persimmons
  • 2 Tbs. Minced Candied Ginger
  • Thinly sliced Mint Leaves


1. Bring wine, 1/4 cup water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and lemon slices to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 18 minutes. Strain, and discard solids. 

2. Remove leathery brown stem tops from persimmons, and slice fruit into wedges. Add persimmons to warm Syrah syrup. Cool, cover, and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight, turning fruit occasionally. Serve garnished with candied ginger and mint leaves.




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Spiced Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Granola


Spiced Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Granola Recipe 

Commercial granolas are often full of fat. This homemade version is healthier, with a mix of old-fashioned oats, pumpkin puree, olive oil, nuts, and dried fruit. To make these festive boxes, deconstruct a Chinese takeout container by pulling out the wire handle, then glue decorative paper on the inside. Trim excess edges with an X-Acto knife, then reassemble the box. (If the glue and paper are not food-safe, first put granola in a plastic bag.

Servings: Makes about 5 cups (large batch: 15 cups)


  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (large batch: 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (large batch: 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil or olive oil (large batch: 6 Tbsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (large batch: 3 Tbsp.)
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (large batch: 6 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom (large batch: 3 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (large batch: 3 tsp.)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (large batch: 9 cups)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans (large batch: 3 cups)
  • 1 cup pistachios (optional; large batch: 3 cups)
  • 1 cup golden raisins (large batch: 3 cups)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (optional; large batch: 3 cups)


Preheat oven to 325°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and salt. Add oats, pecans, and pistachios (if using), and toss to coat. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in raisins and cranberries (if using), and continue baking until oats are just crisp, about 15 minutes more. Stir one last time, then set aside to cool completely. When hard, break into chunks and store in an airtight container.





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Cabbage Casserole w/Leeks, Ricotta, & Pine Nuts

  Cabbage Casserole w/Leeks, Ricotta, & Pine Nuts Recipe

  • Calories: 147
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Total Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Cholesterol: 12 mg
  • Sodium: 597 mg
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Sugar: 7 g

 Note: Removing excess moisture from the veggies &cheese before assembling helps hold this dish together.


  • 12 large leaves savoy cabbage
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 small leeks, halved, white/light green parts cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese (1 cup), drained
  • 3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts


  1. Blanch cabbage leaves in large pot of boiling salted water 7 minutes, or until softened. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and broth. Season with salt, if desired; place lemon slices on top; and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 25 minutes. Drain in colander, remove lemon, pat leeks dry, and set aside.
  4. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, and cook 10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Place 3 to 4 cabbage leaves on bottom of prepared baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over leaves, top with one-third of leeks, dot with one-third of ricotta, and sprinkle with 1 Tbs. pine nuts. Repeat layering 2 more times, seasoning with salt and pepper between layers, if desired, and top with fourth layer of cabbage and sauce. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until strata begins to brown on top.



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Main Dishes


 Spiced Salmon


Spiced Salmon Recipe



2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 ½ lbs. skinless salmon
1 lemon, very thinly sliced rounds
2 tsp. of olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350° Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the salmon in a baking dish, coat with 2 teaspoons of oil and then season with spice mixture.

Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Be aware cooking times may vary, depending on thickness of salmon, so keep an eye on this delightful.



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Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad


Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad Recipe



3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons honey
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups baby arugula
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup flat leaf parsley
4 peaches (I like my peaches on the firm side)
1 avocado
1/2 cup mozzarella pearls or fresh mozzarella diced


  1. Whisk together the Dijon, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stream in the olive oil while whisking. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the baby arugula, basil leaves, and parsley. Add the baby mozzarella. Put in the fridge.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium heat. Slice the peaches and remove the pit. Slice the avocado and brush both with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the peaches and the avocados slice side down on the grill. Grill for a few minutes, you want some grill lines on the fruit. but you do not want them to turn to mush.
  5. Take the fruit off of the grill. Look how gorgeous the heat from the grill made the avocado. I want to eat this again right now.
  6. Slice the peaches and avocado and add to the salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over. Toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper.



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