Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

Why Are Lemons and Limes Sour?

Why Are Lemons and Limes Sour?

Why Are Lemons and Limes Sour? If you’ve ever taken a bite out of a lemon, you already know they pack some serious sour power. This is because they contain citric acid, which is a weak organic acid, found in many fruits and vegetables.

True to their name, citrus fruits have particularly high concentrations of citric acid. Lemons and limes have even higher concentrations of citric acid than their sweeter citrus cousins, such as oranges and grapefruits.

When you take a bite of a lemon or any food – your taste buds interpret what you taste. Like little receptors, your taste buds gather information and send it to your brain. When food comes in contact with the taste buds, they send a message to your brain telling it whether the food is sweet, salty, bitter, or sour.

The tip of your tongue senses sweet and salty foods, while the back of your tongue senses bitter flavors. When you bite into a lemon, the citric acid activates taste buds along the sides and center of your tongue. These taste buds let your brain know when something is sour.

The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie. So now you and me definitely know why are lemons sour.

Why are lemons yellow and limes green? All citrus fruits are green while they are still growing on the tree. Lemons lose their green color as they ripen because the chlorophyll pigment is replaced with a chemical called anthocyanin. Many lime species would also turn yellow if you left them on the tree long enough, but they never get a chance.

Which Lemon is best? The Lisbon lemon produces very high quality lemons with a thin skin, high juice content, and high acidity. Once a year the Lisbon lemon produces a heavy crop of fruit in mid winter to early spring. For lemons all year round we suggest the Eureka or Meyer lemon varieties.

Content for this question contributed by Betsy Moeller, resident of Forestville, Sonoma County, California, USA