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|Meyer, Eureka, Lisbon
|All year round
Somalia lemon belongs to a citrus fruit species of a small tree that is evergreen. Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C.It promotes hydration when consumed and supports weight loss.
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It is also known to aid digestion and freshen breath. Lemon pulp and rid is also used in garnishing, cooling and baking various foods. Lemon is also known as a dry black lemon because it is black in color.
The lemon tree grows up to 20ft and usually has sharp thorns on its branches. It produces mildly fragranced flowers that contain two or more leaf axils. Some fruits are seedless, while others have much fruit inside.
Lemon is said to have originated in India between 1000 and 1150 years ago. It was then introduced to Somalia in 1850s. Somalia lemon is said to be a hybrid between bitter orange and citron.
There are three common types of lemon in Somalia namely:
Meyer-This is a crossbreed between citron and mandarin. The Meyer lemon has dark green shiny leaves with white flowers. They are usually small in size and less tart than regular lemons.
Eureka lemon-These are large than Meyer lemon and oblong in shape. They do not contain seeds and have a very tarty flavor. They are the most common type. This type of lemon has thicker skin than all the others.
Lisbon lemon-This is a medium-sized lemon fruit. Its tree is very short, unlike the other two types. Its skin is bright yellow and very smooth when mature.
Lemon trees can be planted at any time of the year and do not have a specific season. They require a warm climate and plenty of sunlight. They are very sensitive to frost hence do not perform best n cold areas.
A lemon tree has a lifespan of over 50 years with proper care. They grow to the average size of 15 feet and up to a diameter of 3 inches.
Lemon harvesting is done all year round as different varieties have different producing seasons. Lemons may take up to six months to mature fully and ripen. The best indicator of Somali lemon ripeness is taste. They are harvested with pruning shears or by pulling the fruit stalk from the tree by hand.
Once harvested, the lemons are packed into plastic boxes of 18kgs in capacity ready for transport. The fruits are sold in mesh bags by retailers.
Somalia lemon is exported to the UAE, and others are sold locally. Dry lemon export is one of the largest income-generating projects in the country.
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