Is Lemon A Fruit Or Vegetable? Here’s Why

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: November 19, 2022
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The lemon tree is a type of small evergreen tree that is native to Asia. It belongs to the flowering plant family Rutaceae. Worldwide, both non-culinary and culinary uses are made of the ellipsoidal yellow plant component of the tree, known as the lemon. The pulp and rind are also used in cooking and baking, and its juice is useful in cleaning agents. Lemon juice is an essential ingredient in many foods and drinks, such as lemon meringue pie and classic lemonade!

Despite being a popular ingredient in recipes and beverages, many people frequently ponder whether lemons are fruits or vegetables. This is due to the fact that occasionally what we once believed to be one is actually the other! Scientifically speaking, this occurs more frequently than you may imagine. Lemon is typically thought of as a fruit. Is this accurate? Let’s investigate!

Lemon Is a Fruit – Here’s Why

Ripe Meyer lemons hanging from a tree with bright green leaves.

Despite being a popular ingredient in recipes and beverages, many people frequently ponder whether lemons are fruits or vegetables.

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According to science, a fruit is anything that develops from a flowering plant’s ovary and contains seeds. Vegetables are the leftover parts of plants that are edible, such as stems, stalks, leaves, and so on. A straightforward way to think about this is to determine whether the food in question is the plant’s method of spreading its seeds throughout the planet. If so, lemon qualifies as a fruit!

What Type of Fruit Is Lemon?

Lemons are classified as the citrus fruit, known as the Citrus limon in botany. It is also a hybrid fruit, not a fruit that grows naturally. This indicates that they are a genetic cross between two different fruits. Lemons are specifically a cross between the citron fruit and the bitter orange. Through plant breeding, they have evolved over many generations. A single tree can produce as many as 1,500 lemons in one growing season, though it may take a lemon tree up to five years to begin producing fruit once planted.

How Lemon Is Used as a Fruit

The juice, peel, or rind of lemons can be found in a wide variety of foods and drinks. The entire lemon is used to make lemon liqueur, lemon marmalade, and lemon curd. Slices and rind of lemon are also used as garnishes for food and drinks. Rice, baked products, puddings, and other dishes can all benefit from the flavor of lemon zest, which is the grated peel of the lemon. Lemon tree leaves are even used to make tea in addition to being used to cook meats and shellfish.

Lemon juice is a common ingredient in soft drinks, cocktails, and lemonade. Lemon juice’s 2.2 pH and 5%–6% citric acid content gives it a tart flavor. Its acid is used in fish marinades to neutralize fish amines. Meat becomes more tender as a result of the acid partially hydrolyzing stiff collagen fibers. In the UK, lemon juice is commonly added to pancakes. Lemon juice is also applied to various fruits, such as apples, avocados, and bananas, as short-term preservation because its acid stops them from oxidizing and turning brown after being cut.

Other Interesting Uses for Lemon

Prior to the development of fermentation-based methods, the primary commercial source of citric acid was lemons. The peel can also be used to create pectin, a polymer that is a coagulant and stabilizing agent in food, as well as other applications. It can even be used as a natural hair highlight when exposed to sunlight! This is due to the fact that citric acid acts as lightening agent.

Did you know heat can be applied to lemon juice to make an easy invisible ink? Here’s a fun idea for the family! Simply squeeze lemons or buy lemon juice in a bottle. Apply the juice on a stick or paintbrush and write on paper using it as ink. Let the paper dry out. Hold the paper in front of a light source, such as a lightbulb (preferred), the sun, or another heat source when you’re ready to see your hidden message!

Here’s a scientific project for the kids, electrodes can even be put into a lemon to utilize it as a battery to produce energy! Despite the lemon batteries’ extremely low power, they have been known to power a tiny digital watch!

Some Health Benefits of This Citrus Fruit!

lemon eucalyptus


juice is around five times more acidic than orange



With a serving of lemons, you can get 64% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Polyphenols, tannins, and terpenes are just a few of the phytochemicals that can be found in lemons. Plants produce phytochemicals, which are chemicals that help them fight against infections from bacteria, fungi, and plant viruses. These phytochemicals are thought to support the immune system’s operation and may even shield your cells from harm that could lead to cancer. They might also lessen bodily inflammation and assist in balancing hormonal abnormalities.

Lemon juice is around five times more acidic than orange juice, contains a slightly higher concentration of citric acid than lime juice, and is about twice as acidic as grapefruit juice. One of the many health benefits of citric acid is the reduction of sore throats and congestion. Citric acid helps treat tonsillitis by easing soreness and inflammation in the throat. Many claim you can gargle warm water and lemon juice to help eliminate bacteria that cause infections. Even warm tea and honey can be combined with it for a comparable result.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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