Yellow Lemon is colorful
Lemons are an all-around amazing fruit with an intense sour taste. They are an integral part in flavoring a number of different dishes and beverages. A lemon’s juice can set your teeth on edge or refresh you on a hot summer’s day. Yet, one of the most endearing qualities of lemons is their brilliant green and yellow colors. They are a most inviting looking fruit whether they are still on the tree or mingled in a bowl with other fruit on the kitchen counter. But, of all the colors a lemon could have turned out to be, many are left to ask, “Why yellow”?
The Lemon Change from Green to Yellow
When examining the life span of any citrus fruit, including lemons, they all begin their formation with a beautiful greenish color. It is important to note that green lemons are not limes, and yellow limes are not lemons. Yet, over the course of time, most lemons will cease being green and their outer skin will change to exhibit a bright, lush yellow pigment. This transformation of color can take up to 9-months as a yellow lemon ripens on the tree. After this lengthy duration, the fruit will no longer continue to ripen or change its pigment. By this point, the now matured lemon should be picked in the weeks that follow.
The Chemical that Creates the Yellowing of a Lemon
The reason for why a lemon is yellow is no great secret. It is a simple matter of chemistry that is made possible by a chemical known as anthocyanin. As a lemon is undergoing the process of ripening, the anthocyanin slowly replaces the green chlorophyll. At least, this is what happens in an ideal situation. The outcome is a magnificent yellow lemon that contrasts against the green leaves of the lemon tree. Anthocyanin belongs to a class of molecules called flavonoids. It is even found in abundance in many plant tissues.
Some Lemons Remain Green
What may seem a little strange at first is that not all lemons turn yellow. Some of the lemons that start out green remain green. Some times this is a consequence of not allowing a lemon to ripen long enough on the tree. At other times, the problem can be that there is not an adequate amount of sunlight required to help the change in color. It is important to prune a lemon tree to allow the sunlight to reach the fruit more easily. Planting lemons too close to other heavily shading trees can cause this problem also.
Enjoying the Beauty of Lemons
The bright yellow exhibited by lemons reminds us of the warmth and enriching light of the sun. This makes lemons a lovely ornamental fruit that is sometimes displayed in homes, gardens and other fashionable visual contexts. Even when sliced up for use on a salad, a lemon complements the other green leafy vegetation that forms the backdrop against which the lemon shines forth. It is even a pleasant sight when adorning the rim of a full glass of darkly brewed ice tea at dinner time.
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